THOMASTON — Thanks to a $2,500 grant from Efficiency Maine, the Town of Thomaston recently installed two Level 2 electric vehicle chargers at the parking lot near the Public Works Department on Watts Street, according to a news release from the Augusta-based organization.
Thomaston installed the chargers at this publicly accessible location behind the business district fronting Main Street and Route 1, close to downtown amenities.
The Thomaston project is part of a statewide initiative to expand public EV charging infrastructure in Maine, according to the release.
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. “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, per the release. The 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, the release stated.
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, according to the release, 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 so-called range anxiety for local EV drivers, and helping transform the marketplace toward lower cost, lower carbon vehicles.
“Thomaston is very excited to participate in the Efficiency Maine statewide EV charger grant program,” said Diane Giese of the Thomaston Select Board. “We believe having an EV charger will make our town an even more enticing destination for EV owners visiting Maine. Thomaston is a lovely village with many Victorian homes on Main Street, a town landing just a short walk away and several restaurants to dine in while your car is charging. We hope to see many folks getting a charge out of Thomaston!”
The grant is funded with proceeds from the settlement of a lawsuit against Volkswagen for violating environmental protection laws, according to the news release.
The settlement specified that funds be used to reduce vehicle pollution, such as by installing public EV charging stations, according to the release.
The initiative that funded the Thomaston chargers, per the release, 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, the release noted.
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 efficiencymaine.com for more information.