The Town of Thomaston recently installed two Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) chargers at the parking lot near the Public Works Department on Watts Street. Using a $2,500 grant from Efficiency Maine, Thomaston installed the chargers at this publicly accessible location behind the business district fronting Main Street and Route 1, close to downtown amenities. This project is part of a statewide initiative to expand public EV charging infrastructure in Maine.

Efficiency Maine is the independent administrator for programs to improve the efficiency of energy use and reduce greenhouse gases in Maine. Through its 30 grants to municipalities, universities, medical facilities, nonprofits, businesses, and schools, Efficiency Maine is helping fund the installation of 89 public, Level 2 plugs to fill in EV charging gaps across the state.

“All indications from car manufacturers are that EVs will become commonplace in the decade ahead, so it’s prudent for local governments and businesses seeking to attract tourists and shoppers to accommodate EV drivers, as well as traditional car drivers,” said Michael Stoddard, executive director of Efficiency Maine Trust, through a news release. “Thomaston is thinking ahead. Building out a network of public EV chargers to welcome electric vehicles is a practical choice for local residents, commuters and visitors.”

Level 2 chargers are the most common units installed in homes, workplaces and public spaces. These units provide between 14 and 35 miles of range per hour. 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 chargers serve commuters, local drivers, business people driving to and from meetings and appointments, and overnight guests. Expanding access to chargers is an early step in helping the state reach its long-range targets to reduce greenhouse gases from the transportation sector while lowering energy costs for Maine drivers, mitigating “range anxiety” for local EV drivers, and helping transform the marketplace toward lower cost, lower carbon vehicles.

The grant is funded with proceeds from the settlement of a lawsuit against Volkswagen for violating environmental protection laws. The settlement specified that funds be used to reduce vehicle pollution, such as by installing public EV charging stations. The initiative that funded the Thomaston chargers is a complement to a parallel effort under way at Efficiency Maine to develop a network of DC “fast chargers” (also called Level 3 chargers) that can deliver up to 250 miles of range per hour.

In addition to serving Mainers making longer in-state day trips, the “fast charger” network will link Maine’s major corridors and destinations to the growing number of EV drivers traveling on business or for vacation from Quebec, New Hampshire, and Southern New England.

To learn more about electric vehicle technology and how to maximize its benefits visit efficiencymaine.com/ev. Drivers also can find a charging station locator on the Efficiency Maine website.