You might have just bought or borrowed an EV for the first time and are wondering where to charge up your vehicle when not at home. There are over 1000 public charging stations in B.C. but while many of these stations do not charge a usage fee, some will require you to have an access card to start the device. There are three prominent networks in B.C: ChargePoint, Flo (AddEnergie), and Greenlots, each with their own system, and membership cards, which are easy, and low cost or free. To save time and possible frustration, it’s recommended that you register for these three networks ahead of time.
Accessing Public Charging Stations
ChargePoint is a common network for Level 2 charging stations throughout BC. Membership along with a ChargePoint Card is free and can be used at any station that does not charge for its use. With the first use of a ChargePoint Enabled Charging Station that requires payment, an initial prepaid balance of $25 will be charged to the credit card. The session fees associated with the charging session will be deducted from that balance. The balance on the account will be automatically refilled once it falls below $10. A mobile app is also available to members to authorize the station use and will show stations availability in real-time. Members can also get notifications during their charging session, track fuel and greenhouse gas savings and view charging history. ChargePoint also accepts the use of contactless credit card with RFID chip at their charging stations. Sign up for ChargePoint.
Flo (previously known as the VERnetwork™) is the network used by AddEnergie stations. Many level 2 stations in BC use the Flo network, as do the DC Fast Charging stations in the Kootenays. Joining is free, however, there is a $10 fee for members wanting to use a Flo RFID card to charge a vehicle. The card can be obtained online by filling up a registration form. Members can use a mobile app or a member card to access the networks’ Level 2 chargers. Members can purchase credits online to access the stations that require payment. If you forget your card, you can still use the station by calling the network agent. Mobile users with a data plan can download a free app online and use it to access any of the networks’ available charging stations. Visit the Flo website and sign up for a membership.
Greenlots: Outside the Kootenays, the majority of DCFC stations in BC are on the Greenlots network. Getting a Greenlots membership is free and members can order RFID cards online for a $9 fee, or download the app for free. The network offers an option to preload the card for use at stations that do require payment. Many of the hosts are charging a set rate of $.35 per KW used, with a minimum $2 transaction. The card can be automatically topped-up when its balance drops below $5. Their free mobile app for iPhone or Android allows users to “pay as you go” using the credit card associated with the account. Users can also get notification when the vehicle is done charging. Sign up for Greenlots.
If you’re travelling outside of BC, it is recommended to plan ahead, and identify what networks you may need on your travels. If stuck, almost all stations will have a phone number you can call into, to start a charge.