If you drive, now is a really, really good time to switch to an electric vehicle (EV). And if you happen to work at Toronto Rehab Lyndhurst or Rumsey Centre, UHN’s North campus … as of March 9th, you can now charge up at work! Behold the 4 brand new level 2 electric vehicle charging stations available to staff, patients and visitors at no extra cost over the usual parking fee.

This brings UHN’s EV charging network up to 54 charging stations at 4 parkades!

Having the ability to charge up at work makes it far more convenient than having to schlep to a gas station. Since most EV drivers install charging at home too, there’s really no time wasted going to a gas station at all. Just set it and forget it while you sleep or while you work. (Psst, for home-chargers, the best time is overnight when most rate-based electricity is at its lowest).

There’s also less time wasted going to the service station as EVs require a lot less maintenance. There’s not very many moving parts … no engine, just a battery. Forget about oil changes, and no transmissions or exhaust systems to worry about. You’ll still change tires and brake pads, but not much else.

The yellow highlighted spots by Rumsey are now EV charging stations available to staff, patients and visitors

We see the convenience, but what about cost? It costs far less to charge a car versus fill up with gas (approx 1/4 the cost for charging vs fueling, and that’s not counting the many places – like UHN – offer charging for free). Beyond charging, the maintenance costs are even lower and will make a massive difference over time. It’s helpful to remember these tidbits when looking at the initial purchaser price at a dealership.

To sweeten the sticker price, there’s still a $5,000 rebates on some zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) in Canada, with more incentives depending on your province. In Ontario, Plug-n-Drive has a $1,000 incentive for a used EV just by attending a webinar, and another $1,000 for scrapping your old gas car. Québec, British Columbia, and the maritime provinces all have something even greater to sing about, though I won’t go into detail out of sheer jealousy :).

PlugShare map of FREE EV charging stations in North America. There’s far more if you look for paid chargers.

The 2022 Superbowl was awash in ads for EVs. My personal favorite goes hands down to the Sopranos themed ad which replicates the opening sequence with a few key changes. Instead of Tony, it’s his grown children Meadow and AJ, and instead of a massive, gas-guzzling SUV, it’s a fully electric vehicle. The cool, driving beats of “Woke Up This Morning” remain the same.

As I mentioned when we installed charging stations at Toronto General and Toronto Western, we don’t usually promote cars at hospitals, but there’s a great reason to go down this road. In Ontario, fossil fuel-powered transportation is responsible for the most Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions that cause climate change. This pollution also worsens asthma, lung cancer and other respiratory diseases, even COVID! It has never been more clear that climate change is a health care issue, and that fixing the climate can bolster our health. Considering global conflicts, now is a particularly vital time to reduce demand for fossil fuels by transitioning faster to the low-carbon economy.

Unlike their gas-burning cousins, EVs generate ZERO nasty emissions, and are still far greener when considering manufacturing, disposal, and electricity supply (squeaky clean in Ontario as our coal plants have shuttered). Cleaning our commutes heals patients and planet, and that, my friends, is right up our alley.

UPDATE: 2022-03-30

Wow, are we ever glad we built the EV charging stations as there will be a lot more EVs on the road! The Government of Canada just announced an emissions reduction target of 40-45% by 2030 from 2005 baseline, and clean transportation will literally drive it! Expect an increase in charging stations, more help for drivers to switch. Best of all, mandates for dealerships to sell more ZEVs and stop selling gas-powered cars in less than 19 years. More details and fine print below…

ZEV Sales Mandates for Dealerships from year 2022 -> 20402026203020352040
Light duty vehicle (car) sales must be ZEVs +20%+60%100%
Medium and heavy duty vehicle (van, truck) sales must be ZEVstba+35%100%*
* feasibility

Making it easier for Canadians to switch to electric vehicles through additional funding of $400 million for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) charging stations, in support of the Government’s objective of adding 50,000 ZEV chargers to Canada’s network. In addition, the Canada Infrastructure Bank will also invest $500 million in ZEV charging and refueling infrastructure. The Government of Canada will provide $1.7 billion to extend the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) program will make it more affordable and easier for Canadians to buy and drive new electric light-duty vehicles. The Government will also put in place a sales mandate to ensure at least 20 percent of new light-duty vehicle sales will be zero-emission vehicles by 2026, at least 60 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2035. To reduce emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs), the Government of Canada will aim to achieve 35 percent of total MHDV sales being ZEVs by 2030. In addition, the Government will develop a MHDV ZEV regulation to require 100 percent MHDV sales to be ZEVs by 2040 for a subset of vehicle types based on feasibility, with interim 2030 regulated sales requirements that would vary for different vehicle categories based on feasibility, and explore interim targets for the mid-2020s.

– Government of Canada “2030 Emissions Reduction Plan – Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy” https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/news/2022/03/2030-emissions-reduction-plan–canadas-next-steps-for-clean-air-and-a-strong-economy.html