National infrastructure funds bring high speed EV chargers to Rockland

U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree, Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt, Commission of the Maine Department of Transportation and Federal Department of Energy official visit Rockland
Wed, 04/03/2024 - 9:00am

    ROCKLAND - In a milestone for the expansion of reliable and accessible public EV charging in Maine, some of the nation's first public EV-charging stations funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are now open along U.S. Route 1 in Rockland, according to a Maine Department of Transportation press release.

    The five high-speed public EV chargers, located at the Hannaford Supermarket in Rockland, were funded by the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. The NEVI Program provides states with funding to strengthen and improve the reliability of our nation's electric vehicle charging network. The program was established by the Biden Administration's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is administered through the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and supported by the U.S. Joint Office of Energy and Transportation.

    Maine is the fifth state to open NEVI-funded chargers and the first to have an operational NEVI-funded charging location open in conjunction with EV manufacturer Tesla. The Rockland chargers add to Maine's growing network of EV charging infrastructure through Recharge Maine, the state's initiative to create a convenient, reliable, and accessible EV charging network, especially along Maine's most traveled roads and highways.

    The availability of public electric vehicle charging stations has more than doubled in Maine since 2019. In January the state of Maine received a $15-million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to support the further installation of 62 Level 3 fast charging ports and 520 Level 2 charger ports at more than 70 sites in 63 Maine cities and towns - adding to the more than 1,000 public EV charging ports now available across the state.

    "Today, Maine leads the charge to electrify our transportation infrastructure with the opening of its first NEVI-funded electric vehicle charging station," said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. "Thanks to President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are deploying thousands of electric vehicle chargers along our nation's highways and within communities, making finding a charging station just as easy as finding a gas station."

    "It was no small feat for Congress to pass a once-in-a-generation bipartisan infrastructure law which includes climate-smart programs like the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program," said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, who voted to pass President Biden's transformative infrastructure bill. "As a long-time electric car driver myself, I know that one of the reasons people have not made the transition is because they worry about access to charging stations. Today is a vital step to deliver significant fuel savings to commuters and drivers and preserve the health of our environment."

    "State and federal investments in EV charging across the state will help meet the needs of consumers, communities, and businesses, while helping significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Hannah Pingree, Director of the Governor's Office of Policy Innovation and the Future and co-chair of the Maine Climate Council. "As a partner in Recharge Maine, we're proud that Maine is on the leading edge of EV charging in the country, thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and we look forward to seeing Maine's EV charging network expand in Bangor, Augusta, Houlton, Machias, Rumford, and other towns and cities to make EV travel across our state more reliable, accessible, and convenient."

    "Maine is leading the country in the acceleration of clean energy, energy efficiency, and the availability of clean transportation technology like EV charging," said Dan Burgess, Director of the Governor's Energy Office. "New high-speed chargers like these across the state will provide convenient charging options at key locations for drivers as Maine becomes more EV ready."

    "Bipartisan support for transportation leads to real benefits for the traveling public," said Bruce Van Note, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation. "Expanding Maine's EV charging network will help reduce range anxiety in our rural state. It will also improve our quality of life by reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector."

    "Maine is full speed ahead to implement convenient, reliable EV charging across the state," said Gabe Klein, Executive Director of the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation. "The Rockland station, as the first federally funded Tesla charging station in the nation, embodies the goal of the NEVI program - for any EV user to plug into any publicly funded charger, anytime, anywhere."

    "Clean transportation options are advancing with the launch of Maine's first NEVI-funded EV charging station today," said Spencer Thibodeau, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Energy. "Fast charging complements charging at home and around town to support convenient transportation that can be powered by clean energy."

    "The Rockland Supercharger with eight fast-charging stalls is an important travel charging site to expand charging access across Maine," said Shatorah Roberson, Tesla Policy Advisor. "We appreciate the partnership with Recharge Maine under NEVI."

    "Care for the planet and the communities we serve is at the core of everything we do, as we aspire to enable our customers and associates to lead healthier and more sustainable lives," said George Parmenter, sustainability lead at Hannaford Supermarkets. "With that goal in mind, we are pleased to work with Recharge Maine; the Maine Department of Transportation; and Peter Kriensky, the owner of the Rockland Shopping Plaza, to bring these high-speed electric vehicle chargers to our Rockland store. These charging stations offer our customers a convenient way to charge their electric vehicles as they shop, while also providing customers the opportunity to be a part of the solution when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

    Expansion of Maine's public EV charging network is led by Recharge Maine, a partnership among the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), the Governor's Office of Policy Innovation and the Future (GOPIF), the Governor's Energy Office (GEO), the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the Efficiency Maine Trust (EMT).

    In August 2023, Recharge Maine announced more than $6 million in NEVI awards would be used to support the construction of new chargers at seven locations. Tesla was awarded $473,591 in NEVI funding for five of the eight charging ports at the Rockland site. The chargers are DC fast-charging (DCFC) chargers that can be used to charge all major EV brands. NEVI funding requires that chargers be physically accessible to the public any time of day and year-round. The chargers must also remain in proper working condition more than 97 percent of the time.

    In recent months, new EV chargers became available in Ellsworth, Bangor, Belfast, Newport, Fairfield, Auburn and Lewiston, and funding has been committed for chargers in Presque Isle, Fort Kent, Medway, Machias, Houlton, Ashland, Danforth, Van Buren, Baileyville, Augusta, Searsport, Waldoboro, Rockland, and Brunswick.

    Over the next several years, Maine will receive approximately $18 million from the NEVI Formula program to fund the development of the state's deployment plan. Future public fast-charging locations in Maine utilizing NEVI funds will include:

    • City of Portland Miss Portland Diner Lot, 140 Marginal Way in Portland
    • Hannaford, 295 Forest Avenue in Portland
    • Hannaford, 44 Moosehead Trail in Newport
    • Dysart's Restaurant and Truck Stop, 530 Coldbrook Road in Hermon
    • Airport Mall, 1129 Union Street in Bangor
    • Hannaford, 773 Stillwater Avenue in Bangor
    • Town of Rumford River Street Lot, 50 River Street in Rumford
    • Shaw's Plaza, 770 Roosevelt Trail in Windham
    • Nouria, 443 Portland Road in Bridgton

    Currently, a total of 830 Level 2 community ports at 409 locations and 241 DCFC high-speed charging ports at 88 locations are publicly available in Maine. Drivers can find all the locations on the Efficiency Maine website.