Maine continues expansion of EV fast-charging network

Efficiency Maine last week announced seven awards to place new high-speed electric vehicle (EV) chargers at strategic locations on Interstate 95 to serve communities in central and eastern Maine.

With these additions, Maine’s universally accessible, high-speed EV charger network will connect Bangor, mid-coast Maine, and Acadia to drivers traveling to and from southern New England and the State’s western border.

Installation of high-speed EV chargers at these locations will fully commit the balance of the $3.15 million in Volkswagen (VW) settlement funds that Maine dedicated to EV infrastructure. In 2018, the Maine Department of Transportation selected Efficiency Maine to administer the EV infrastructure initiative with the settlement funds resulting from a successful lawsuit against VW for violation of environmental protection laws.  Further expansion of the high-speed network, including to Northern Maine and further Downeast, is planned over the next several years. 

Under the terms of the awards, two high-speed chargers, each at least 50 kW in capacity and universally accessible (offering both CHAdeMO and CCS plugs), will be installed over the next year at each of the following supermarkets and gas stations in the state.

“Over the last three years, Efficiency Maine has used Volkswagen settlement funds to install electric vehicle chargers in communities across Maine, expanding cleaner transportation options for Maine people, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and fighting climate change,” said Governor Janet Mills.

“As electric vehicles become more common, Maine must continue to expand its charging network, which is why I am proposing $8 million through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan for EV charging infrastructure. By making it easier to charge an EV anywhere in Maine, we will strengthen our economy and reduce harmful carbon emissions. I applaud Efficiency Maine for reaching this milestone and for its many contributions toward energy efficiency and climate action in Maine.”

“It’s significant that we were able to attract these high quality, well-trafficked locations within 30 miles of other fast chargers, and that some of the major gas stations are diversifying their business strategies by adding EV charging,” said Michael Stoddard, executive director of the Efficiency Maine Trust. “When we get gas stations and grocery stores playing host to EV chargers, we know that the sites are strategically located, the owners know how to cater to drivers, and the transition to electric is getting serious.”

This initiative has been developed by Efficiency Maine in collaboration with the governor’s office and the Maine Department of Transportation to align on the state’s progress toward EV adoption.

In addition to installing these publicly accessible fast chargers, Efficiency Maine also is supporting the expansion of lower-cost, public Level 2 chargers in other strategic locations across the state. Level 2 chargers are most commonly installed in homes, as well as at workplaces and public spaces. These units can provide between 14 and 35 miles of range per hour and are often used when a car can be left plugged in for longer periods of time. All Level 2 chargers have a universal “J” plug and connect to all electric vehicle models.

Adding publicly available Level 2 chargers improves local access and destination charging across the state. These charger plugs serve commuters, local drivers, business people driving to and from meetings and appointments, and overnight guests. To date, Efficiency Maine has helped fund more than 140 new level 2 plugs in Maine’s public EV charging network, which has now grown to a total of 120 DC high-speed charging plugs and 375 Level 2 “community” plugs.

Source: Renewable Energy