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Thompson Co-op celebrates Fuel Good Day, launch of electric vehicle charging station

Level 2 charger is the first at a gas station in Thompson as Co-op embraces ‘the wave of the future.’

Thompson Co-op Gas Bar celebrated a couple of milestones at its Thompson Drive North location  Sept: 21: the first Fuel Good Day since before the pandemic and the fifth overall as well as the unveiling of its level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charging station.

Five cents from every litre of gas and $1 from every slushie sold at both locations on Tuesday is going to the Canadian Mental Health Association Thompson, the Thompson Crisis Centre and the Hope North suicide prevention network.

Co-op’s general manager Alvaro Filipe and three board members were on hand to show off the new EV charger on the back wall of the convenience store. Electric vehicles could be seen as a threat to a gas station but Filipe said the business is there to provide services customers need.

“Electric vehicles are the wave of the future,” he said. “Thompson may be a little bit slower to adapt to that but as the Thompson Co-op Gas Bar we want to be ready for it when it does happen. We can be resistant, we can say, ‘Hey, we don’t want any part of it’ but it’s going to be coming regardless.”

The charging station is the first at a gas station in Thompson.

“We want to get our foot into the door before anybody else really does,” said board president Rob Ellsworth. “This just goes to show our commitment to climate change and the change we see in the petroleum business moving to the EV business. This is part of our commitment to that change and we hope that it’s embraced by our membership and our customers.”

The unit cost about $4,000 to buy and install and the Co-op is still working out how much it will charge to use the station.

“We will come up with a model that will be fair to the members and fair to us as well so that we can take advantage and not lose our shirt on electricity,” said Filipe.

Co-op board member Les Ellsworth says some places in Winnipeg have whole banks of charging stations and that he expects Thompson eventually will too.

“This is a level 2. What we’d like to see in time is level 3s because level 2s, it’s going to take you a lot longer to charge. Level 3s will take you about 15 to 20 minutes.”

He also hopes that charging stations will be established along Highway 6 and Highway 10 so that electric vehicle owners from Winnipeg or Prince Albert can actually drive to Thompson without running out of juice.

Should EVs catch on in Thompson, Co-op is well positioned to take advantage, as it has a transformer and multiple power hookups already in place for future expansion.

“If we want to put another building in or whatever we want to do, the power is ready to go,” Rob Ellsworth said.