How do we inspire Canada’s largest city to adopt and embrace Electric Vehicles?

How do we inspire Canada’s largest city to adopt and embrace Electric Vehicles?

By: Jeffrey Dea, Vice President, Business Development, Toronto Parking Authority

The International Energy Agency reports that, despite a pandemic disrupted and turbulent year, sales of Electric Vehicles (EV) broke all records in 2021, and there is no sign this trend is waning in 2022.

From innovative battery technology to new EV models hitting the roads, there is no question that the stage is set for the EV market to reach its true potential and transform the way we travel. However, Toronto still faces a significant barrier to progress in this market – the lack of a comprehensive and publicly accessible EV charging network. 

As adoption takes hold, EV owners will demand a charging network that offers simplicity, speed, choice, and ease of use. Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) is an important ingredient in meeting consumer demand in this regard, and our vision to become the world’s best provider of sustainable parking, bike share, and last-mile mobility experiences, strategically positions us to be a catalyst for EV adoption. We strive to meet our customers’ expectations every day, and we see our role in the transition to EV as an exciting opportunity, but there is no time to spare.

The increase in EV ownership is creating a demand that we need to meet now. In addition, the City of Toronto’s TransformTO Strategy, launched in 2017, calls for a reduction in community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Toronto to net zero by 2040 – 10 years earlier than initially proposed. The strategy establishes 2030 goals that will see 30 percent of all registered vehicles on the road be electric and 75 percent of school/work trips under 5 km either walked, biked, or taken by transit.

Aligned with the global push for sustainability measures, Toronto’s net zero strategy is ambitious, and it requires immediate action. Major automakers are poised and ready to deliver new EV models to meet the demand and we must be ready to fulfill the other side of the equation.

Our President, Scott Collier, is up for the challenge. “We’re committed to making EV adoption more convenient than ever so that drivers can embrace the vehicles of the future. Without a customer-centric EV charging network that addresses these pain points, people will be reluctant to purchase electric vehicles.”

Work is already underway

In 2021, we began developing capabilities and tapped into the technical expertise to build an infrastructure deployment plan rooted in strategic planning and KPIs. These targets include installing over 250 EV charging stations by the end of 2023, with that figure doubling to 500 EV charging stations by the end of 2024. A public charging network of this scale can transform how Torontonians travel and help meet the city’s carbon neutrality goals.

We are currently mobilizing our EV charging infrastructure program to deliver 50+ stations at off-street garage and surface lot locations by the end of 2022. In addition, we have partnered with Toronto Hydro to deploy an incremental 32 EV charging stations at TPA-operated off-street parking facilities, including both Level 2 and DC fast chargers. 

In January 2022, Toronto City Council directed the City’s Transportation Services Division to work with Toronto Hydro and the TPA to install 17 or more on-street EV charging stations by the end of 2022. This is in addition to 17 on-street chargers installed in 2020 as part of a pilot initiative.

Partnerships are key

While meeting our customers’ needs is priority one, there is also a tremendous opportunity to futureproof parking assets and commercialize EV services to drive additional revenue that can be reinvested into Toronto Parking Authority’s operations. It can’t happen independently. Collaboration and partnerships are key. 

When we have partners who collectively share a vision of rapidly expanding the public EV charging network, ambitious goals become a reality. Directed by Toronto Council to assume control of the City’s on-street EV charging program beginning in 2023, TPA will rely heavily on its established relationships with Toronto Hydro, the City’s Transportation Division, and The Atmospheric Fund. We also strive to create partnerships with new organizations on infrastructure planning and funding opportunities as the rollout progresses. 

Toronto Parking Authority returned 1.2 B to the City since 2001 

What’s next? 

TPA is on its way to creating and operating a strong public EV charging ecosystem that will build confidence and support market growth and investment. We are building the foundation to scale up to 500 EV charging stations by the end of 2024 and work is underway to meet this target. There’s no question that the next few years represent a critical opportunity to accelerate EV adoption. 

So, how do we inspire Canada’s largest city to adopt and embrace EVs? We create a charging infrastructure that is simple, convenient, and affordable.ν

About the author
Toronto Parking Authority
Jeffrey Dea  


Leave a Reply