MONTRÉAL, CANADA - Hydro-Québec and its partners -- RONA, les Rôtisseries St-Hubert, METRO and the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) – announced plans for "The Electric Circuit," Canada’s first public charging network for plug-in electric vehicles.

The first charging stations are due to be operational in early 2012 at the founding partners’ business sites and at several AMT park-and-ride facilities.

Initially, the Electric Circuit will consist of about a hundred 240-volt charging stations. Quick-charge (400-volt) stations will be rolled out in 2012, once they have obtained Canadian certification.

“We are proud to be able to count on partners of this caliber whose banners can be seen at over 900 locations in Québec. These are solid, well-established companies that, like Hydro-Québec, put a high priority on sustainable development, customer satisfaction and growth in electric vehicle use,” said Hydro-Québec CEO Thierry Vandal. “While the vast majority of recharging will be done at home and at work, the availability of a public charging network is essential to meet customers’ backup or emergency needs.”

The network of charging stations will be rolled out gradually, as plug-in electric vehicles arrive on the Québec market. The metropolitan areas of Montréal and Québec will be the dual starting points of the Electric Circuit. The rollout will then be extended to other cities and sites in the province.

Charging will cost a flat fee of around $2, which will include the cost of the electricity and access to a prime parking spot. Electric vehicle drivers will also have access to a charging station locator service provided by Hydro-Québec and to a 24/7 telephone help line run by CAA Quebec.

Establishment of the Electric Circuit marks the first stage in the development of the charging infrastructure required to support the operation of plug-in electric vehicles in Québec. This initiative ties in with the Québec government’s electric vehicle action plan unveiled last April 7.