AUGUSTA — A new initiative from Efficiency Maine will further expand the coverage of the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure by supporting installation of public EV chargers in rural communities.

This is the first of a series of planned EV charging infrastructure incentives from Efficiency Maine using $8 million allocated by Gov. Mills’ Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan.

Level 2 EV chargers add 20 to 40 miles of range per hour, and are suitable for hotels, restaurants, retail stores, and public parking lots where the vehicle can recharge for an hour or longer. Eligible projects under the funding opportunity being announced today, Aug. 18, by Efficiency Maine can receive 80% of installation costs, up to a maximum of $5,000 per Level 2 plug for networked chargers or a maximum of $2,000 for non-networked chargers.

Thanks to the The Nature Conservancy, projects at local government-owned properties and public libraries in rural areas will be eligible for a bonus incentive of $2,000 per networked plug, with the total combined incentives covering up to 90% of the total project cost.

To be eligible for funding, proposed projects must be in a publicly accessible location in a rural community as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Projects in York and Cumberland counties, and the cities of Lewiston, Auburn and Bangor, are ineligible for this round, but future funding opportunities from Efficiency Maine are intended for areas not covered by this opportunity. To learn more about this funding opportunity, please visit the Efficiency Maine website. The deadline to apply is Nov. 15.

“One of our goals is to extend public EV charging throughout the state, so we are pleased to focus this round of funding on parts of the map that currently have fewer chargers,” said Michael Stoddard, executive director of the Efficiency Maine Trust.

“We appreciate the financial support from the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan and The Nature Conservancy to make EV charging more accessible and affordable for rural businesses, nonprofits, towns, and tribal governments.”

Kate Dempsey, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Maine, said, “A true statewide transition to clean transportation that meets Maine’s climate goals has to include rural communities. We’re pleased to collaborate with Efficiency Maine to make it a little easier for Maine’s municipalities, tribal governments and public libraries to install publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure.”

Dan Burgess, director of the Governor’s Energy Office, said, “With increasing consumer demand putting more EVs on the road in Maine, expanding EV charging infrastructure for rural communities just makes sense. We look forward to working with Efficiency Maine to use this funding from the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan to help make EVs a reality for more Maine people.”

Projects must be pre-approved and if they meet the eligibility criteria will be offered an incentive payable upon completion of the project. This opportunity is offered on a first-come, first-served basis until the budget for this round of $695,000 is exhausted. Efficiency Maine expects this initial funding opportunity to help defray the cost of approximately 150 new plugs, according to the announcement. Projects must be completed by May 31, 2023.

Ineligible locations include private homes, multi-unit dwellings, Airbnb properties, vacation properties (e.g., camps, cabins, and cottages), non-permanent structures, K-12 schools, new and used car dealerships, and sites that intend to use the chargers for fleet vehicles of the property owner or tenant. Some of these locations may qualify for other incentives offered through Efficiency Maine, and interested individuals should visit efficiencymaine.com for more information.

To date, Efficiency Maine has helped fund 236 new plugs in Maine’s public EV charging network. A total of 613 Level 2 “community” plugs and 151 DC high-speed charging plugs are publicly available in Maine. Consumers can find these charger locations using the charging station locator on the quasi-state agency’s website.

Efficiency Maine’s website provides a one-stop shop for information about EVs, rebates, and charging infrastructure to help Maine consumers become more comfortable with EVs. The website maintains an online EV educational video library. One video series specifically targets the considerations and decisions of business owners, municipal officials, and other property owners who are assessing whether, where, and how to locate an EV charger at their business, school, apartment complex, or other public location. The videos also cover practical issues, such as reasons to install a public EV charger, choosing an appropriate charging site, sizing the electrical panels, and how to find equipment and installers.

Maine drivers also can learn more about EVs and EV charging through a series of 2- to 4-minute EV educational videos featuring Maine humorist and car enthusiast Tim Sample. The instructional videos featuring Sample cover a variety of topics: where and how to find EV chargers, how to use a public charger, home charging installation tips, how to maximize a home charge, how to recognize the different types of public charger plugs, ways to pay for public EV charging, and “one-pedal driving,” which enables drivers to come to a full stop without using the brake pedal.

In addition to the Efficiency Maine website, the video library also can be found on the Efficiency Maine YouTube Channel.

Mainers also can find extensive written materials on the agency’s EV web pages, including a guidebook on “How to Select and Install a Home Electric Vehicle Charger,” which provides useful information and tips for current and prospective EV owners.

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 efficiencymaine.com for more information.