Electric Vehicle and Low-Emissions Vehicle Strategy

What is the Electric Vehicle strategy

The objectives of the Electric Vehicle (EV) and Low-Emissions Vehicle (LEV) Strategy are to:

  • Respond

    to the growing demand for electric vehicle infrastructure and services

  • Encourage

    and support faster adoption of electric and low-emission vehicles to aid in reducing greenhouse gas emissions

  • Build

    partnerships across Alberta to provide an electric vehicle charging network within the province that connects to other provinces or states

  • Establish roles

    on what The City, partner organizations, and the private sector should play in providing electric vehicle infrastructure and services

  • Increase awareness

    and create enthusiasm amongst the public and industry about electric and low-emission vehicles

The actions associated with the EV and LEV Strategy were incorporated into the Climate Resilience Strategy which highlights The City's strategies and actions to improve energy management, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for current and future climate impacts. The Climate Resilience Strategy was approved by Council in June 2018.

The EV and LEV Strategy is also closely tied to the Future of Transportation Program, which monitors and plans for the impacts of new technologies on how people will live, work and travel in Calgary over the coming decades.

The EV and LEV Strategy document provides additional detail on how these actions will be implemented.

About Electric Vehicles

What are electric vehicles?

Electric vehicles are cars that run off electricity, instead of gasoline. They are powered by rechargeable batteries, which are charged by everyday electricity.

Some types of electric vehicles also include a gasoline engine to extend the car's maximum driving range.

Charging stations are used to supply electricity to the car and can be built into someone's home and can be found at locations across the city.

Why electric vehicles?

Electric vehicles are projected to cost the same or less than the equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle by the mid-2020s, and already cost less to operate and maintain. The variety of EVs for sale will also increase dramatically over the next five years, including cars, pick-up trucks, and SUVs. Combined, this will result in many more EVs on Calgary streets in the coming years.

As noted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), the production of EVs can produce more carbon emissions compared to gasoline vehicles, given the additional energy to manufacture the EV battery. However, over the lifecycle of a vehicle, EVs typically have lower overall greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.

This lifecycle considers elements such as extraction of materials, manufacturing, production of energy sources, tailpipe emissions, and decommissioning of the vehicle. While EVs have zero tailpipe emissions, there may still be some degree of greenhouse gas emissions that varies depending on the source of energy to power the EV (e.g. coal, wind, hydro).

In Calgary, vehicles account for approximately 33% of greenhouse gas emissions as shown in the figure below. Electric vehicles emit only two-thirds of the emissions of the average gasoline-powered car in Alberta today, which will further improve as coal is removed from the provincial electricity system.

As EVs become more affordable to the general public and more are purchased, we could see a 10-40% reduction in GHG emissions by 2040, representing one of the greatest opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Some insurance companies also offer discounts for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Incentives for purchasing an electric vehicle

In May 2019, the Government of Canada launched an incentive for consumers who buy or lease an eligible zero-emission vehicle (ZEV). This program is planned to continue until March 31, 2025 (or until available funding is exhausted). 

There is a range of makes and models of ZEV that are eligible for an incentive up to $5,000. More information on the incentives and eligible vehicles can be found on Transport Canada.

Where can I charge my electric vehicle?

We know that one of the main barriers to EV adoption is the availability of charging infrastructure, and we want to make it easier for Calgarians to find charging stations.

Existing charging locations

Calgary currently has more than 200 EV charging stations including over 50 charging stations in downtown Calgary Parking Authority parkades.

The City of Calgary has also installed 20 new EV charging stations at light rail transit stations (Chinook, Brentwood, Sirocco and McKnight-Westwinds) and recreation centres (Southland Leisure Centre, Village Square Leisure Centre, Vivo for Healthier Generations and Thornhill Aquatic & Recreation Centre).

With a growing database of charging stations in Canada and the USA, PlugShare is considered a reliable source of maps and reviews of EV charging stations.

Download PlugShare free for your iOS, Android, or visit their website to find a charging station near you or to plan your next road trip.

Charging infrastructure

There are several types of electric vehicle charging stations for cars, SUVs and light duty trucks, some of which are limited to certain types, makes or models of electric vehicles.

The figure below summarizes the three basic types of charging stations, their electricity requirements, charge time and achievable travel ranges.

Tesla stations can only be used by Tesla vehicles, while all other EVs can use universal charging stations produced by other manufacturers.

Planning for at home and at work

With the majority of EV charging occurring at home and at work, increasing access to charging at these locations is an important component of supporting EV adoption.

The City of Calgary, in collaboration with The City of Edmonton, commissioned various studies to further support the deployment of EV charging infrastructure at these key destinations. 

ICF Canada conducted the EV Home & Workplace Charging Study that included best practices research and stakeholder engagement with recommendations on EV readiness at new and existing homes and workplaces. 

AES Engineering conducted the EV Charging Infrastructure Costing Study to help inform local stakeholders about the potential costs of making parking EV ready in new multi-unit residential buildings and identified strategies for retrofitting existing multi-unit residential buildings to be EV ready.

The studies referenced above provide additional background information for those considering EV charging infrastructure at existing single-family/multi-unit residential buildings, commercial buildings, and policy considerations for future buildings.

Traveling across southern Alberta

As part of the Peaks to Prairies EV Charging Network,  The City worked with Alberta Southwest Regional Alliance, Southgrow Regional Initiative, City of Lethbridge, City of Medicine Hat, and Medicine Hat College to setup a network of 20 fast-charging stations, with backup 'Level 2' stations, across southern Alberta.

These stations make it possible for EVs to travel across southern Alberta, up to Edmonton, and into British Columbia and the United States for business or tourism.

The network is accessible by any type of electric vehicle and complements Tesla Supercharger stations being installed for Tesla vehicles.

The network, branded as the Peaks to Prairies Network is powered by 100 percent renewable energy sourced from southern Alberta. This use of renewable energy was a key element of the project that enabled grant funding from the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada to cover the majority of the construction costs.

What is the future of Electric Vehicles?

To further promote the usage and uptake of EVs, The City of Calgary is working to advance on key areas to assist Calgarians in adopting EVs and providing opportunities for greater access to charging infrastructure by means of:

  • Education

    Develop education and outreach material to help build awareness of EVs and provide guides and online information to better support those considering EVs.

  • Community Charging Hubs

    Support and evaluate opportunities for implementation of community charging hubs. They are intended to serve an important role as part of the charging infrastructure network for those who do not have regular access to privately-owned charging sites (e.g. driveways, garages, parking lots, or parkades).

  • Curbside Charging

    Implement a curbside charging pilot project to provide another option for public EV charging and develop design guidelines to support the development of future curbside charging stations.

  • Bylaw Updates

    Provide input to the next update to Calgary’s Land Use Bylaw regarding improving access to EV charging infrastructure (e.g. incorporating EV charging infrastructure into building developments).

Additional resources

Interested in updates?

For updates subscribe to our Electric Vehicle Strategy email list.


This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically. ​