OEB Staff Bulletin on EV Charging

A guest Blog from Travis Allan, DeMarco Allan LLP

DSC_2386-270-low resOn July 7, 2016 the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) released a bulletin setting out OEB Staff’s view that ownership or operation of an Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station and the selling of EV charging services from such facilities do not constitute distribution or retailing of electricity. Staff also believes that electricity distributors are not precluded from owning and operating EV charging stations if the equipment provides for the management of load in keeping with Ontario’s goals for electricity conservation.

 Staff bulletins of this nature do not bind the OEB in future decisions, but they are important sources of information and guidance for electricity industry participants.

 If the OEB agrees with staff’s view, EV charging station owners and operators will not require distributor licenses to receive payment for EV charging services and regulated Ontario electricity distributors will be able to own and operate EV charging stations directly, rather than through an affiliate, subject to restrictions. These restrictions may support the uptake of “smart” charging, which allows distributors to control EV charging times and speeds.

 OEB staff is of the opinion that an EV charging station[1] is not an electricity distribution system because EV charging stations do not provide distribution capability for loads other than EVs. As a result, OEB staff believes a person who owns an EV charging station is not required to obtain a distributor license from the OEB.

 In a related conclusion, OEB staff believes the act of selling or offering to sell EV charging services does not constitute “retailing” and, therefore, does not require an OEB retailer license. OEB staff notes that persons selling or offering to sell EV charging services are providing a complete “vehicle refueling” service as compared to just commodity electricity and, unlike a standard electricity supply service, EV charging services can only be used to recharge an EV.

 OEB staff holds the view that licensed electricity distributors are not precluded from owning and operating EV charging stations so long as the equipment provides for the management of load in keeping with the Government’s goals for electricity conservation. Typically, distributors are restricted from carrying on any business other than distributing electricity and, as explained above, OEB staff does not believe that owning and operating EV charging stations constitutes a distribution system or retailing electricity. OEB staff believes, however, that exceptions to this rule under Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 s.71(2) relating to the promotion of electricity conservation and the efficient use of electricity as well as load management apply.[2] Specifically, EV charging can help optimize the use of assets by making more demand response tools available to distributors and facilitating off-peak charging.  Having distributors involved in owing and operating EV charging stations, staff believes, may help facilitate load management and the efficient use of electricity.

 OEB staff’s qualification that the equipment should provide for the “management of load” is likely significant. While some “smart” EV charging equipment is able to help distributors manage when and how quickly users charge, not all EV charging equipment contains these features. Information about Canada’s first residential smart charging pilot conducted by CrossChasm in partnership with Toronto Hydro can be found here.

 For more information on electric vehicle policy, contact Travis Allan.


Tesla Model 3 – Unveiling!


On March 31, 2016, Tesla Motors unveiled the Model 3, the third step in a not-so-secret “Master Plan”, to which Elon Musk has referred to on many occasions.  The first step was the Roadster, a low volume, high-priced sports car.  The second step was the higher volume, lower-priced Model S and Model X. But the goal of the company has always been to make a difference with a high volume and affordable electric car — the Model 3.

What Makes This Different?

Who would stay up late at night to watch a live internet broadcast of the unveiling of a new car?  Moreover, who would plunk down a deposit to reserve a vehicle before it has even launched? Even the casual observer noticed that something different was happening with the Model 3.

First, the reveal didn’t occur during an auto show, but at an exclusive, invitation only, Tesla event.  Second, was social media. Tesla Motors has a Facebook following of almost 1.4 million people and a Twitter following of about one million @TeslaMotors and over 3.6 million @ElonMusk.  This provided an excellent base from which to publicize the Model 3 reveal. To add to the anticipation, the company took a page from the Apple play-book, allowing in-person pre-orders of the vehicle in stores before reservations could be made on-line, which meant line-ups.


However, the real difference isn’t that Tesla makes cars and not iPhones, nor that it makes electric cars. and not gas cars. The real difference is that in just a few days, over a quarter million people have voted with their deposits to support what Tesla represents. It’s a statement of belief that Tesla is doing the right thing, which, if traced back to Tesla’s mission, is: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

This mission resonates with people around the world.  Tesla’s focus on producing some of the world’s best vehicles has proven that electric transportation can be practical, efficient and appealing.  The commitment to build two global charging networks to support their vehicles, Tesla Supercharger and Tesla Destination, is nothing short of brilliant. Tesla is also building an enormous battery factory in Nevada, which will supply the massive quantity of batteries needed to build its target of 500,000 electric vehicles per year.

All of these things make Tesla Motors a different kind of auto-maker. What some critics will raise as a shortcoming — offering only a small line-up of zero-emission electric vehicles — could actually be the company’s biggest advantage.  There is a singular focus and steadfast commitment to the product, technology and ultimate mission of the company that no other auto-maker embraces.

What makes the Model 3 so special?

Now that the vehicle has been revealed, we know more about appearance, performance and range. But there are still more details to come. So reservation holders and those still on the fence, can anticipate “Part-2” of the Model 3 reveal sometime before the target production launch at the end of 2017.  For now, this is what we know:

  • Have a total range at least 344 km
  • Accelerate 0-100 km/h in 6 seconds
  • Offer seating for 5 adults
  • Provide superior cargo handling with front and rear trunks
  • Include Supercharging capability
  • Include Autopilot hardware and safety features
  • Have a starting price of $35,000 USD (Canadian Price hasn’t been disclosed)

As for the design, the vehicle appears to be as beautifully sculpted as the Model S.  While watching one of the live streams of the unveil event, I was initially unsure about the lines from certain angles.  But after viewing several more videos and numerous photos from the event, the more I saw, the more I liked.  Why was I among the hordes of streamers bogging down the internet that night? Put simply, I believe that Tesla is changing the world.  I wanted to be a part of it.  And if I could, I wanted to help.


Until the vehicle has been finalized, we won’t know which features will make it into production:

  • Will it still have an all glass panoramic roof for superior headroom?
  • Will it retain the controversial floating 15″ centre-mounted user interface?
  • Will it achieve the promised 5-star safety rating in all categories?

Of course, we will all have to decide for ourselves about appearance.  But at this stage, it certainly seems that Tesla has designed another home-run. I didn’t wait to place my deposit.  Did you?

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Living with the LEAF: Charging Efficiency

A Guest Blog by Plug’n Drive Volunteer Glennengineer

Nissan LEAF chargingI charge the LEAF in my garage using the standard 120 volt cord set (Level 1) that comes with every electric car.  The actual charger which converts Alternating Current (AC) from the grid into Direct Current (DC) for the car’s battery is built-in to the car.

Through my observations, the LEAF charges at about 1.3 KW using 120 volts. As observed in the data below there is a significant difference between the amount of energy used (measured by the LEAF) and the amount of energy supplied TO the charger (measured by my KWH meter) In fact the efficiency ranges between 70% – 80%.

The data  below shows a loss of 3KW over 10 hours or 300 watts/hour.

The significance of this is that charging times will be always be longer than expected if based on the KWH driven.  Next time we will examine the Km/KWH or driving efficiency.

LEAF around town (Aurora) 65 6.4 10.2 13.2
LEAF to Keswick 86 7.1 12.1 15.3
LEAF to Newmarket 25 6.5 3.8 5.5

Confessions of an EV Virgin

A guest blog by: Cindi Ross (@CLP1971)

EV Experience Winner Cindi RossThat’s right, you heard what I said.

  • I confess that I thought driving an EV would be a little like driving an enlarged version of one of those battery operated kiddie cars that you can buy for your 4 year old.
  • I confess that I had an alarming level of anxiety that the car would just die on me in the middle of nowhere, for no apparent reason.
  • I confess that I thought I would have to beg, plead or worse, whine at my boyfriend to even be seen in the car with me, let alone drive it.
  • And I confess that I would somehow feel dwarfed and underpowered compared to some of the larger and more commonplace internal combustion engine vehicle.

WRONG on all accounts!

On the highway, I could not believe how fast I could accelerate to 129 errr… I mean 100 km/hr  😉

And the gadgets! I’m sure there are airplane cockpits not as well equipped as the Nissan LEAF.  I loved the 4 camera feature that gives you a view of the rear, front, as well as sides of the vehicle.

The anxiety part was, of course, completely unfounded.  As a person who pretty much knows how many days it will take her to reach 1/2 a tank of gas, and how many BBM’s I can send  before my phone dies, planning in advance was really not the obstacle I thought it would be.  If anything, I left for work each morning knowing I had “a full tank”.

As far as having to plead to get my other half to drive it… let’s just say it’s a good thing I had it for two days before he got to see it (and that I grew up learning to share my toys), because I was quickly demoted to co-pilot status…and kind of stayed there!

As far as feeling dwarfed and underpowered, turned out I had no problem leaving several vehicles, if you’ll pardon the pun, in the dust.

I was also quite surprised at the level of interest people had in the Leaf.  I exchanged two quick conversations at red lights with drivers who wanted to know about the car, and had two people actually knock on my door ask me some questions.

The only down side I can really think of, in my case at least, is the EV charging infrastructure.  I do a considerable amount of long range trips on a frequent basis, so I’d like to see more charging stations available up North, and along the 401 corridor.  In saying that, for me, maybe a PHEV would be an option for my next vehicle?

Since my Nissan LEAF experience, I’ve had the pleasure of driving a Tesla Model S and I’m looking forward to an upcoming opportunity to have 24 hrs with an Mitsubishi i-MiEV (but shhh… I’m not telling the boyfriend about that one.)


The first winner of EV Experience – Antony A.

As part of the ongoing initiative to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, Plug’n Drive created EV Experience, a program that gives drivers the chance to win the keys to an electric car for one week.  We held contests at several events and have given the Nissan LEAF, Ford Focus Electric, and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV to various winners to try!

Our very first participant of EV Experience was Antony A. who won by attending EV Day Toronto.  He choose to take the 2014 Focus Electric to see how it would work for him.

It is a great car that has lots of safety features including a built-in touchscreen, GPS unit, Bluetooth connection, and reverse assisting camera.  –Antony A.

Follow us on our social media pages as well as our website to find out when you could win an electric car for a week!

“For now I will take transit to work.  But after this experience in an electric car, I will be saving my money so that my first car will be electric.”  – Antony A.

Canada’s Charging Stations – Vancouver Edition

CPCanada Place
Canada Place opened in 1986 as Canada’s Pavilion for Expo ’86 and continues to welcome locals and people from around the world for inspirational Canadian experiences. It is also steps away from the Vancouver Convention Centre, which hosts a variety of events from the Grey Cup Festival, Family Fair, and The Wellness Show

999 Canada Place
Two level 2 stations
Free to charge, no card required. Parking fees apply.



Vancouver Aquarium

A not-for-profit marine science centre that it dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life through display, communication, public programming and education, research and direct action. Vancouver Aquarium does not capture from the wild and provides a home for rescued animals.

845 Avison Way
Two Level 2 stations
Free to charge, credit card required. Parking fees apply.


Grouse Mountain
Vancouver’s premier attraction with a variety of cultural, educational, and outdoor adventures. Ski, ride, dine, and shop atop the mountain with its breathtaking view.

Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Two Level 2 stations
Free to charge, credit card or Chargepoint card required. Parking fees apply.

Living with the i-MiEV

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

A guest Blog by Plug’n Drive volunteer Glennengineer

The i-MEV is a small and unique electric vehicle (EV).  It was one of the first modern EVs available and has been around since 2009 in other parts of the world.  From an engineering point of view, it is a fantastic feat of efficiency that uses a small forced air cooled battery of approximately 16 kWh.  I even had several short jaunts on the highway and, while the car is stable, the range suffers (see data below).

The regenerative braking (available in “B” mode) is powerful in the i-MEV and with practice one never uses the brakes unless coming to a complete stop. All cars should have this feature! In one short drive I used the heater intermittently and predicted about a 20% drop in range if used continuously.  I will get a more accurate estimate during a winter drive later this year.

Km Km Km (Estimated)
iMEV around town (Aurora) 47 68 115 7.1 6.7
iMEV to Keswick + HWY 74 14 88 5.9 12.6
iMEV to Newmarket + HEAT 24 84 108 5.7 4.2
iMEV to Smart Centers 99 10 109 7.6 13.0
iMEV to Keswick 76 44 120 7.8 9.7
iMEV around town (Aurora) 10 112 122 6.2 1.6
iMEV to Sutton 115 9 124 8.6 13.4
iMEV around town (Aurora) 17 104 121 8.2 2.1