Maine completes first stage of statewide EV charging network initiative

Efficiency Maine this week announced the completion of the first phase of an initiative to install a network of universal, publicly accessible electric vehicle (EV) chargers across the state of Maine. Using only funds from the settlement of a federal lawsuit against Volkswagen, this phase of the initiative developed high-speed EV chargers (also called “Level 3” chargers or “DC fast chargers”) at seven locations along the Maine Turnpike. A high-speed charger typically can add 200 to 250 miles of range per hour.

The seventh and final site installation of this deployment was unveiled in a ceremony at the Hannaford Supermarket in North Windham that featured Efficiency Maine Executive Director Michael Stoddard; George Parmenter, a representative from Hannaford Supermarkets, Sen. Bill Diamond (D – Cumberland); as well as representatives from the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce and local municipal government.

“We deliberately chose these first seven charging locations because of their strategic value for local communities and drivers traveling to and from neighboring states and provinces,” said Michael Stoddard, executive director of the Efficiency Maine Trust.

“In addition to helping Mainers make longer in-state day trips, this fast charger network accommodates the growing number of EV drivers traveling on business or for vacation from Quebec, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and southern New England,” he added.

Complementing the now-completed first phase of its initiative, Efficiency Maine is turning its attention to extending the high-speed charger network north through Bangor and eastward along Route 1. On April 21, Efficiency Maine closed a request for proposals to serve communities along I-95 from Waterville to Bangor/Brewer; Route 1 from Rockland to Ellsworth; and in Lewiston-Auburn. Awards are expected to be announced by May 12, 2021.

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Efficiency Maine has been working since October 2018 to minimize the obstacles of electric vehicle adoption by offering grants that support the installation of a network of EV chargers throughout the state and defray the cost of an EV. In 2018, it contracted with ChargePoint to install DC fast charging for the first phase of the initiative. 

“ChargePoint’s mission is to get every driver behind the wheel of an EV by providing a convenient charging experience everywhere drivers go,” said Dedrick Roper, director of Public-Private Partnerships for ChargePoint. “Combined with ChargePoint’s existing network, the 21 active places to charge along some of Maine’s most traveled routes will make driving electric easier than ever and will connect communities that previously had limited access to EV charging with essential solutions. We’re delighted to offer fast-charge solutions at each of these locations along the Maine Turnpike to support the shift to electric transportation, the local business community, and the state of Maine at large.”

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. To date, Efficiency Maine has helped fund 150 new, public plugs in Maine’s public EV charging network, which has now grown to a total of 114 DC high-speed charging plugs and 375 Level 2 “community” plugs.

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