A recent series of acts of vandalism targeting electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in Qualicum Beach has left drivers frustrated.
The most recent incident was last week when a charging station near the public washrooms at Qualicum Beach’s waterfront was damaged, according to Roy Collver, director of the Mid Island Electric Vehicle Association.
“It would take a three pound club hammer or a sledge hammer to do the damage they did to that one,” Collver said.
He reported the damage to the town and the power was quickly turned off and the damaged charger covered. Collver said the cracked open charger was a safety concern. There are no security cameras at the location.
Around three months ago, a charging station near The Old School House (TOSH) arts centre was vandalized, followed a month later by one near the Qualicum Beach visitor centre. Both incidents involved someone breaking off the charger’s locking tabs. Collver said he believes the incidents were likely planned, “you need tools, this is not a casual thing.”
Three of the town’s six chargers are currently inoperable and one of the three remaining is located in the town hall parkade and is inaccessible after hours.
The units are mainly used by tourists and people who live in apartments or condos without access to their own chargers, according to Collver.
A few years ago several stations in Qualicum Beach and Buckley Bay were vandalized — whoever did the damage removed the charging cables. Collver said the vandal may have taken the cables to turn in as scrap metal, but would have only received a few dollars per cable if accepted at all.
He does rounds of the stations about once a month to see what condition they are in.
“It’d be nice to stop this somehow. I think going forward the people who make these chargers are going to have to come up with a more secure design,” Collver said.
Sgt. Shane Worth of the Oceanside RCMP said no reports of vandalism to EV charging stations in Qualicum Beach have been reported, going back to Dec. 15, 2021.
The stations are owned by the site operators, not ChargePoint, according to a media representative. The Chargepoint app will alert drivers when stations are inoperable and direct them to the nearest site.