SUDBURY -- With demand expected to soar in the next 10 years, Greater Sudbury is considering accessing federal funding to incorporate electric vehicle charging stations at places such as city parking lots.

Known as the Natural Resources Canada Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program, the fund will pay 50 per cent of the cost of installing charging stations, up to a maximum of $5 million.

Greater Sudbury city council declared a climate emergency in 2019, and has committed to a Community Energy & Emissions Plan with the ambitious goal of getting to net-zero emissions by 2050.

A major part of the plan is to have city vehicles switch to electric power, as well as making it easier for the public to switch to electric vehicles.

The federal funding "is mainly to support access to localized and visible charging infrastructure, which is key to alleviate consumer concerns about where to charge their vehicle and to subsidize deployment of a network of zero-emission vehicle charging (level 2 and higher) and refueling stations in more localized areas," said a staff report on the proposal heading to the city's finance committee Tuesday evening.

According to the Electric Vehicle Society in Greater Sudbury, there are 14 electric charging stations in the city, with demand for more expected to grow exponentially.

"The Zero Emissions Vehicles Infrastructure Program objective is to address the lack of charging and refueling stations in Canada, one of the key barriers to EV adoption, by increasing the availability of localized charging opportunities where Canadians live, work, and play," the report said. "With the number of electric vehicles on the road positioned to grow at an exponential rate (to reach 30 per cent of the global market share by 2030), it may be prudent to incorporate EV charging systems at our city parking arrangements."

The report is asking the committee for approval to prepare a business case for the 2021 budget. If approved, city council would get the report in time for budget deliberations this fall.

Read the full report here.