VANCOUVER -- The use of B.C.'s public electric vehicle charging stations has nearly rebounded after dropping roughly 40 per cent as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

New numbers shared by BC Hydro show charging activity is "nearing pre-pandemic levels" at the 70 fast-charging stations across the province.

The Crown utility said there were more than 21,000 charging sessions at its public EV infrastructure back in February, but that number dropped by 20 per cent by mid-March when COVID-19 restrictions were introduced.

It fell even further in April, to 12,700 sessions.

But since the province has eased its rules, allowing a wide variety of businesses to reopen and for people to socialize again, within reason, the EV charging stations have been getting more use, with almost 20,000 sessions recorded in June.

The most popular station is the one at the Superstore on Grandview Highway in Vancouver, near Highway 1.

BC Hydro said the stations at Colwood Park on Vancouver Island, Britton Creek Rest Area in the Fraser Valley and the Tournament Capital Centre in Kamloops have also been popular.

The utility said it recommends EV drivers charge at home during the pandemic, but "recognizes many customers rely on public charging infrastructure."

When using public charging stations, BC Hydro recommends drivers always practice physical distancing and bring sanitizing wipes or gloves to decrease the chance of transferring the virus.