Telus Corp. announced a deal Tuesday with electric vehicle charging network operator Flo to help improve reliability as adoption of clean vehicle technology is expected to ramp up.
Flo will use Telus' technology to monitor at least 60,000 chargers in Canada and the U.S. over the next five years and help provide support when they aren't working as they're supposed to.
"This agreement really helps support the development of critical infrastructure to meet the future demand," said Ali Barakat, Telus vice-president of commercial sales for Quebec and Atlantic.
All light-duty vehicles sold in Canada are required to be zero-emission by 2035, but the availability and reliability of public chargers remains a concern as uptake increases.
By 2030, Canada will need to have around 200,000 publicly accessible chargers, according to an analysis last year by the federal government.
An April 2022 study conducted by Pollution Probe, a Canadian charitable environmental organization, found 59 per cent of electric vehicle consumers disagreed with the statement that there is currently an adequate level of public charging stations in Canada.
Asked about charging maintenance, 21 per cent of respondents agreed that charging stations they attempt to use are often out of service. The study, commissioned by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, found 43 per cent of respondents have had concerns about being stranded due to charging stations being out of service.
With its network of charging stations located across Canada, more than 1.5 million charging sessions occur each month through Flo's infrastructure, according to the company.
It said its charger network is functional about 98 per cent of the time, while Telus said its network is 99.99 per cent reliable.
"As EV adoption is increasing, the infrastructure is becoming more and more an essential service so we want to make sure that we have a very good uptime," Flo chief network and experience officer Martin Brière said.
"What this allows us to do is to have real-time status of our chargers to be able to do remote diagnostics and ensure that if a station is not working to its full capability, that we are able to dispatch either one of our own technicians or (a contractor)."
The companies did not disclose terms of the agreement.
Barakat said the partnership builds on previous forays by Telus into the electric vehicle space.
Earlier this year, Telus announced a partnership with Australian electric vehicle charging company Jolt to install up to 5,000 public fast chargers across Canada, running on the company's network.
"It really demonstrates Telus' long-standing commitment to leverage technology, products and services to build a better and more sustainable future," Barakat said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2023.
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Sammy Hudes, The Canadian Press