Two different federal infrastructure programs have provided funding for more than 43,000 electric vehicle chargers since 2016, but fewer than one in five of them are actually operational, new data show.

The information provided by Natural Resources Canada came as Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson visited Quebec City Wednesday to announce another $25 million to fund 1,500 EV chargers in Quebec.

That announcement is the latest in a constant stream of EV charging announcements in local communities across Canada, as the government aims to help build 84,500 chargers by 2029.

Natural Resources Canada launched an initial program to fund up to half the cost of installing public fast EV chargers, natural gas stations and hydrogen refuelling centres in 2016. Three years later, it introduced a second program expanding the scope to include additional types of chargers.

Data supplied by the department upon request say 43,046 chargers have been funded through both programs, but only 7,644 are working.

The first program, which ended in 2020, provided funding for 1,096 EV chargers, and almost 20 per cent are still not operational. It also funded 22 natural gas stations and 15 hydrogen stations, with about 40 per cent of each yet to begin working.

The second program, which started in 2019 with a $280-million five-year investment, was to install 33,500 electric vehicle chargers by 2025. It was later expanded to run until 2027 with another $400 million in funding.

Natural Resources Canada says as of Aug. 21, 42,007 chargers have been "selected for funding" and 6,697 of those are operational.

The department's database lists 23,000 operational public charging ports in about 9.800 locations across the country, including those funded through federal programs and those paid for privately.

The public funds only pay for up to half the cost of the equipment and installation.

Wednesday's announcement includes funds for Hydro-Québec, Les Petroles, Bell Canada and the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.

An analysis for the federal government by the research firm Dunsky Energy and Climate says Canada will likely need 52,000 chargers in place by the end of 2025 and about 200,000 by 2030 to meet national sales targets for getting more EVs on the road.

A report on Aug. 25 by Electric Autonomy Canada said electric vehicle sales surged to nearly 11 per cent of total market share nationally in the spring, the highest proportion ever.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 30, 2023.

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