Dec. 20, 2018: The Portland Press Herald reports that Efficiency Maine, a state agency whose mission is to help Maine residents use energy more efficiently, has contracted with a California company for the installation of seven electric-vehicle charging stations along Maine highways from the southern part of the state to the Quebec border.

The company, ChargePoint, installs the stations in 2019, as expected. They are the start of a three-phase plan to establish fast chargers on important highways statewide for Maine residents and tourists alike.

Locations of the initial seven stations are on either side of the Maine Turnpike at the turnpike’s Kennebunk service areas, at the West Gardiner turnpike service area, on U.S. Route 302 in North Windham, on Route 27 in Farmington, and on U.S. Route 201 in Jackman and Skowhegan.

The agency’s executive director, Michael Stoddard, says completion of the first two phases should result in charging stations no more than 50 miles apart on major thoroughfares.

In 2019, the second phase of the plan begins with the awarding of grants to 23 Maine communities to help them install Level 2 charging stations, where drivers can recharge their electric vehicles in three to four hours. Many of those stations are functioning in 2020.

The state plan is intended to reduce the $5 billion per year that Maine drivers spend on automotive fuel, all of which comes from out of state, and to reduce the amount of carbon monoxide fumes in the atmosphere.

Funding for the three-phase project comes from the $21 million Maine received as part of the federal government’s settlement of a case involving the German car manufacturer Volkswagen. Courts found that Volkswagen had violated the U.S. Clean Air Act by secretly installing devices on some of its diesel vehicles that were meant to flout the law’s requirements on vehicle emissions.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com. To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]

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