Today, the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) released the first detailed survey of electric car owners in Maine. The release comes a few days before an annual Drive Electric Day celebration to be held Sunday September 13, noon to 4:00 at South Portland Community Center. This event is sponsored by NRCM and others, and gives people an easy, fun and free opportunity to test drive a variety of electric cars currently available. The survey results show that Mainers who own and drive electric cars are extremely happy with their vehicles.
“Mainers with real, on the ground, experience with electric cars have spoken,” says NRCM’s clean energy expert, Dylan Voorhees. “Electric cars are working for Maine people, saving money on fuel, and cutting pollution too.”
In late 2014, the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) mailed a detailed opinion survey to the 600 registered electric vehicle (EV) owners in Maine. This was the first known survey of Maine EV owners, and they responded at an unusually high rate—more than 40%. Although this is not a random sample, it is such a large proportion of all EV drivers that it provides important information.
Maine EV owners almost universally love their vehicles: 93% say they would recommend their vehicle to a friend, family member, or colleague. Virtually all respondents find their vehicle to be reliable and easy and affordable to maintain. Survey respondents said they particularly appreciated the great mileage; driving by gas stations without filling up; lower emissions; quietness; ease of driving; “zippiness” (good) acceleration; good handling, comfort and reliability.
“My electric car is so wonderful to drive. Its peppy and comfortable, and it just feels good to drive a car that is using so much less gas,” says Paul Leblond of Portland.
“Electric cars offer one of the greatest opportunities for Maine to curb climate pollution while reducing our dependence on oil and saving money on gasoline,” says Voorhees. “Transportation emissions are Maine’s single largest source of climate-disrupting carbon pollution, and we currently send more than $2 billion out of state on gasoline and diesel purchases every year.”
“I love electric driving. It’s quiet, clean, and powerful,” says Steve Plumb from Nobleboro. “In the last 18 months, I avoided buying 1,000 gallons of gas. With no oil changes or stops at the gas station I save time as well. I just plug it in when I get home and the Leaf is ready to go in the morning before I am. The electric bill is up $35 a month but I’m saving $35 a week on gas.”
Survey results indicate that Mainers charge their electric cars at home, overnight, similar to the way most of us charge cell phones. Almost all drivers (95%) reported that they primarily charge their cars at home. A few (10%) reported that their workplace was a secondary charging location. Even among drivers who commute 21 miles or more each way, most report charging oly at home (75%) and mostly overnight (62%).
The survey found that 62% of respondents use their vehicle for commuting to work. Of those who commute in their EV, 39% commute less than 10 miles each way, 28% commute 11-20 miles, and 33% commute more than 21 miles, while 10% commute more than 50 miles each way.
“I remember when the first hybrids came out,” says Marc Lausier of Scarborough. “At first people were hesitant, but eventually they realized they worked just like traditional cars except they got much better gas mileage. Now I see the same thing happening, except electric cars get considerably better mileage than hybrids without any gas at all!”
- Maine electric vehicle (EV) owners almost universally love their cars. 93% percent would recommend their car to a friend or family member.
- EVs exist all over the state in surprising numbers (more than 600 at the time of the survey). There is at least one electric vehicle registered in nearly 200 communities across Maine, spanning 15 Maine counties.
- EV owners are saving a lot of money on fuel. More than a third of EV owners responded that they are saving more than $100/month on gasoline.
- Saving money and reducing air pollution are the top two reasons why Maine people are buying EVs.
- A majority of EV owners use their cars for commuting, some with commutes over 50 miles one way.
- A wide variety of EV models are being driven in Maine, each with different characteristics, such as battery range.
Click here for our summary of the survey results: https://www.nrcm.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/NRCMEVsurveyresults.pdf
“Electric vehicles will be an increasingly important part of Maine’s efforts to reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate disruption, and to reduce how much gasoline we buy,” said Voorhees.
”After seeing how well Chevy Volts and plug-in hybrid bucket trucks worked in our own fleet, CMP offered grants to help organizations buy or lease plug-in EVs,” said Sara Burns, president and CEO of Central Maine Power. “Our program put 18 more PEVs on the road and added charging stations in Greater Portland. Recipients — including non-profit organizations, municipalities, and businesses of all sizes — have told us they love these cars and are excited about CMP’s program.”
CMP’s parent company, Iberdrola USA, has joined an industry-wide initiative led by the Edison Electric Institute with a pledge to spend at least five percent of its annual fleet acquisition budget on plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and equipment. This initiative supports Iberdrola USA’s commitment to use and support alternative-fuel vehicle technology throughout its utility operations.
Members of the public are welcome to test drive electric cars this Sunday September 13 from noon to 4:00 at South Portland Community Center.
NRCM is working to increase the use of EVs here in Maine and charging stations too. This year, NRCM supported legislation to establish a Maine state tax credit for EVs, just like the temporary tax credit Maine used early on to encourage the purchase of hybrid cars (An Act to Encourage the Use of Fuel-efficient Vehicles by Representative Rykerson). NRCM also helped pass a bill that will make it easier for towns and businesses to install charging stations (An Act to Allow the Resale of Electricity by Electric Vehicle Charging Stations by Senator Millett).