The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is backing private-sector investment in large-scale electric vehicle charging networks with a new $500-million program aimed at countering Canada’s charging infrastructure deficit, which is widely perceived as limiting the broader adoption of EVs.
The Charging and Hydrogen Refuelling Infrastructure Initiative (CHRI) looks to spur non-governmental investors into building charging networks by covering up to 80 per cent of the upfront capital costs in exchange for usage-based repayments once the chargers are powered up.
It targets larger-scale projects with multiple locations and costs of more than $10 million. Applications put forward must be revenue-generating, and only private-sector investors are eligible, meaning cities or other government actors cannot access the funding, unless working with a private partner that is leading the project.
Charles Todd, managing director of investments with the CIB, said the program targets the issue “that was stopping big, fast investment in the sector” by taking on some of the risk private investors have faced given uncertainties around the speed and scale of EV uptake in Canada.
“If lots of people buy electric vehicles quickly, and manufacturers are able to deliver those vehicles, then we expect to be fully repaid — and we expect the private sector to be happy because lots of people are using their infrastructure,” he said at Electric Mobility Canada’s annual conference in Toronto Sept. 28.
“If things don’t go as expected, then we’re absorbing a big portion of that risk for them. So, you can make investment decisions knowing that you won’t have that repayment if you don’t have the revenue associated with it.”