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Charged Up

Richmond Hospital EV charger. Pictured left to right: Jen Chapman, Ashok Mishra and Baljit Bassi.

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With new EV chargers, VCH fuels progress towards a cleaner health-care landscape

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) has completed the installation of 15 additional electric vehicle (EV) chargers across several sites: G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre, Lions Gate Hospital and Richmond Hospital. The work on new installations will increase the number of chargers at VCH sites to an impressive total of 96 in 2024, with stations coming soon at Vancouver General Hospital, Squamish, Sechelt | shíshálh and qathet General Hospitals.

The implementation project is part of a comprehensive plan to weave sustainable transportation into business practices at the health authority. By installing EV chargers, VCH is making electric vehicle ownership easier for staff and patients enabling them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and exposure to local air pollution.

The expansion builds upon the health authority’s first large EV infrastructure pilot project in 2021, which installed 30 chargers at Richmond Hospital. The quick adoption of the chargers by the hospital community and the resultant reduced emissions made a strong case for more EV infrastructure. With the successful completion of this project, VCH leads the way for EV Charger installation in B.C. health care and is paving the way for other health authorities to follow suit.

We’re proud to be able to offer our staff, patients and community this infrastructure that’s aligned with our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint,” says Ashok Mishra, Director of Planning and Projects. “Electrifying on-road transportation is one of the fastest ways we can make a significant impact on the health of our communities and the health of our planet.”

The popularity of electric vehicles in the health care community has grown alongside the general population, particularly in urban areas where charging infrastructure is more accessible. In the 2023 Greencare survey, 13 per cent of VCH staff had already adopted electric vehicles, with 7 per cent using EVs for their daily commutes. Even more promising was the fact that almost half of respondents planned to make the switch to an EV within the next five years (43 per cent).

Behind the scenes, the success of the Richmond project leveraged expert project management and collaboration. Drawing on experience from the Richmond Hospital pilot, a strong collaboration between Nav Nijjar, manager of VCH Transportation Services, and Planning and Projects director Ashok Mishra supported by Sakshi Khanna led the project. They collaborated closely with the regional Energy and Environmental Sustainability team, working with Kori Jones, Kelly Lim, and Jennifer Chapman.

“Our collaboration is a testament to our internal capacity for innovation. The team continually found creative solutions to realize our vision. I’m really pleased with how we worked together,” Nav proudly notes.
The project was funded through the provincial Carbon Neutral Capital Program and received a $680,000 contribution from the federal Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program.

“Expanding VCH’s EV infrastructure increases sustainable transportation options for people coming to VCH sites,” says Kori Jones, VCH’s Energy & Emissions Director. It also adds to the suite of sustainable transportation options for VCH staff, including the increased transit subsidy of 50 per cent available to staff, which launched last year.

VCH’s leadership is setting a positive example for other organizations and opening the door to a more sustainable future for B.C. health care. Kori shares, “this project will reduce transportation related air pollution in communities served by VCH, over 1660 tonnes of CO2e will be reduced each year from this work (equivalent to taking 490 fossil fuel cars off the road). We are all proud to make this impact and demonstrate public sector leadership with this work. You could say the feeling about this achievement is electric.”