Efficiency Maine completes first stage of statewide electric vehicle fast-charging network, continues expansion efforts
On April 26, 2021, Efficiency Maine 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”) on the Maine Turnpike at the Kennebunk plazas (northbound and southbound) and the West Gardiner plaza, as well as in Jackman, Skowhegan, Farmington, and North Windham. 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 today 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. The North Windham location is going to open up EV travel to so many great destinations served by Route 302, including all the communities around Sebago Lake, skiers headed to Shawnee Peak, and anyone headed to or from North Conway, the White Mountains, and Montreal. As summer approaches and COVID restrictions ease, the timing is great for the commissioning of this new piece of Maine’s clean transportation infrastructure.”
The installation of charging plugs at the North Windham Hannaford Supermarket is the third Hannaford location to host EV charging plugs. There also are charging stations at the Skowhegan and Farmington stores.
“Having EV charging stations at our stores is just one more way we share the journey of sustainable living with our customers,” said George Parmenter, brand lead of health and sustainability for Hannaford Supermarkets. “We appreciate that so many are looking for convenient ways to live healthier and more responsible for the world around us. And we’re excited about the collaboration we’ve forged with Redstone, our landlord in North Windham, as well as with Efficiency Maine and ChargePoint.”
“The North Windham Hannaford is a valuable member of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce and the local community,” added Robin Mullins, executive director of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. “Installing EV chargers at this Hannaford location makes perfect sense not only for tourism in the region, but also for the residents and businesses in the area. Many visitors already shop in the North Windham supermarket for supplies on their way to their final destination in the Sebago Lakes region. The EV chargers make the store attractive to more travelers and will hopefully enhance tourism in the region. The chargers will also allow local EV drivers to increase the time they spend in the area doing errands, shopping and dining, which is extremely beneficial to our residents, businesses, and economy.”
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.
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. 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, businesspeople driving to and from meetings and appointments, and overnight guests. 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.
Efficiency Maine administers programs to expand availability of EV charging infrastructure and the adoption of electric vehicles in Maine. Its programs provide instant rebates for eligible battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) at participating car dealers in Maine, as well as grants to fund the installation of EV charging infrastructure in public areas, workplaces, and multi-unit dwellings in Maine.
To learn more about electric vehicle technology and how to maximize its benefits visit www.efficiencymaine.com/ev. Drivers also can find a charging station locator on the Efficiency Maine website or by using a variety of available smartphone apps.
About Efficiency Maine Trust: Efficiency Maine Trust is the independent administrator for programs to improve the efficiency of energy use and reduce greenhouse gases in Maine. The Trust does this primarily by delivering financial incentives on the purchase of high-efficiency equipment or changes to operations that help customers save electricity, natural gas, and other fuels throughout the Maine economy. The Trust is a quasi-state agency governed by a Board of Trustees with oversight from the Maine Public Utilities Commission. Visit www.efficiencymaine.com for more information.