Montréal and the Electric Circuit – Charging Electric Cars Downtown

MONTRÉAL, July 2, 2014  – Pierre Arcand, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Northern Plan, inaugurated the first curbside charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) in downtown Montréal.

The year-long pilot project will allow the city and the Electric Circuit to determine the nature and scope of curbside-charging needs, given the Québec climate and the urban landscape.

“This initiative puts Montréal and the Electric Circuit in the vanguard of public charging for electric vehicles,” said Pierre Arcand. “More than ever, Québec is clearly committed to transportation electrification and this project will showcase Québec know-how. Other large cities wishing to promote the use of electric vehicles on their territory will most certainly look to Montréal’s curbside charging for inspiration.”

“Montréal is at the forefront in transportation electrification in Québec and we will take steps to enhance our strategic position on the world stage,” said Aref Salem. “Electric mobility creates significant environmental benefits and we want to leverage it to help improve Montrealers’ quality of life. In addition to contributing to our fight against climate change, this project ties into our efforts to make Montréal a centre for sustainable mobility, strongly anchored in the twenty-first century.”

“We are very pleased to be teaming up with the city of Montréal to provide ready access to public charging for EV drivers passing through downtown,” said Mr. Vandal, speaking for the Electric Circuit partners. “Since creating the network, we have always been concerned with meeting the various needs of customers who have adopted electric transportation or who are considering it. This project will allow us to define their curbside charging needs.”

Curbside charging is a great alternative in neighborhoods where residents don’t have private parking spaces and downtown, where short-term street parking is metered. But there are some specific issues related to curbside charging, including cable management, especially during maintenance; street furniture aesthetics and durability; the charging fee, which is on top of the parking fee; and the behavior of potential users, which may differ from that of off-street parkers.

First curbside stations commissioned

The pilot project’s double 240-V stations are now available to EV drivers passing through downtown. One is located in the international district, on Gauvin at Saint-Jacques, and another in the Quartier des spectacles, on Saint-Urbain at René-Lévesque Ouest.

Drivers pay the charging fee of $1 an hour at the plug-in station using their Electric Circuit access card. Then they must also pay for parking at the Stationnement de Montréal station during chargeable hours. All income from the use of the charging stations purchased by the city of Montréal will belong exclusively to the city.

Tested stations and custom design

The curbside stations have been designed and manufactured entirely in Québec by AddÉnergie Technologies, which won the most recent request for proposals to supply Electric Circuit charging stations. The new stations are identical to the off-street 240-V stations, with the exception of the cable, which was modified to facilitate maintenance of the both the stations and their surroundings. There is a retraction system to keep the power cable from touching the ground, so it doesn’t interfere with street and sidewalk maintenance.

The Electric Circuit

The Electric Circuit is the largest public charging network in Québec. It is a major initiative in providing the charging infrastructure required to support the adoption of rechargeable electric cars in Québec.

The network comprises a fast-charge (400-V) station and close to 300 Level 2 (240-V) charging stations in parking lots of the AMT, RONA stores, Metro grocery stores and St-Hubert restaurants throughout Québec. Since its launch in March 2012, 68 private and institutional partners have joined the Electric Circuit. It will continue to expand in order to offer greater geographical coverage and serve more EV drivers in many regions of Québec.

Electric Circuit users have access to a 24/7 telephone help line run by CAA-Québec, as well as a charging-station locator service. The Electric Circuit Web site,, is updated as new stations are installed or commissioned

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