From a visionary idea to an essential service: The Electric Circuit turns 10
Launched on March 30, 2012, at a time when almost no one saw the purpose of charging stations in public spaces, the Electric Circuit has grown into one of the most extensive and most reliable public charging networks for electric vehicles in all of North America.
This project began at Hydro-Québec with inspired and visionary people who were turned towards the future. This team, which was to become the Electric Circuit, pushed for transportation electrification in Québec and, slowly but surely, the company earned the status of electric driving leader it enjoys today. With its clean and renewable energy, Hydro-Québec was perfectly positioned to take an active role in Québec’s decarbonization. Using electricity to power vehicles emerged as a smart choice, and making it available to EV drivers across the province, a brilliant idea! Let’s look back on the evolution of electric mobility in Québec.
Creating the Electric Circuit in 2012
To create and lay the foundations of a charging ecosystem that combined the strengths of the public and private sectors, Hydro-Québec sought the support of four Québec partners. Rôtisseries St-Hubert, RONA, exo (formerly the Agence métropolitaine de transport) and Metro took up the challenge and committed to having a hundred public charging stations installed on their premises.
In 2012, there were about 600 EVs on the province’s roads, and drivers greeted the arrival of the first public charging stations in Montréal and the city of Québec with great relief. The Electric Circuit was up and running!
When the Electric Circuit was inaugurated, there were 34 charging stations. From its modest beginnings, the network expanded exponentially. A decade later, it has broadened its offer by a hundredfold to more than 3,400 charging stations, including 600 fast-charging stations, some of which are grouped in superstations. The network now serves all of Québec and parts of eastern Ontario.
The only network of its kind in Canada in terms of format and scope, the Electric Circuit has been a trailblazer, catering to nearly half of all electric vehicles in Canada.
To ensure the success of its expansion, the Electric Circuit makes service quality its number-one priority every day and continues to innovate. Over the years, the offer has kept pace with the evolving needs of drivers, whose vehicles’ battery storage capacity keeps growing.
The mobile application is a good example. With its streamlined and efficient design, the Electric Circuit does much more than provide the locations of charging stations and processes payments. In fact, EV drivers can use it to plan their trips based on a range of parameters (including charging stops along the way), report a problem on the network that was not detected automatically and enhance their customer experience with promotional offers—and the list of features keeps on growing!
There’s more to come!
The Electric Circuit still has room to mature. In the coming months and years, expect to see increasingly powerful—and perhaps more visually appealing—charging stations, trials with new technologies, new station configurations and concrete proposals to help EV drivers who live in apartments or who don’t have easy access to home charging.
In 2022 alone, our teams are working on a number of pilot projects to test heavy vehicle charging, off-grid charging in remote areas and mobile charging for short-term needs like public events. We are also developing partnerships so our members can more easily access other charging networks in Québec and beyond.
With all these possibilities, making the switch to electric driving is easier than ever. Considering the progress we’ve made in our first ten years, just imagine what’s in store for the years to come!