New rebate could double EV drivers statewide
NRCM News Release
March 13, 2019 (AUGUSTA, ME) – Maine residents will soon have the opportunity to take advantage of expanded charging stations and a new rebate for the purchase of electric vehicles under a climate change initiative announced by Governor Janet Mills today. Funding for the rebate program will come in part from a $5.1 million settlement against Volkswagen and will be administered by Efficiency Maine.
“We applaud the plan from Governor Mills and Efficiency Maine to encourage more people to embrace EVs as a clean choice for their family and for Maine,” said Dylan Voorhees, Climate & Clean Energy Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). “It’s good news for energy consumers and good news for our environment.”
“Looking around at other states, we see nothing is more effective at accelerating electric vehicle markets than giving consumers a direct rebate at the moment they make a choice to buy at the dealership,” continued Voorhees. “While Mainers are buying electric cars, we are not keeping pace with our neighbors and peer states who have also signed onto clean car standards. These incentives could not come at a better time, as more and more models of electric cars come out each year.”
A 2018 survey of EV owners by NRCM showed that more than 1,300 Mainers drive electric cars—more than twice as many as in 2014. The funding announced today by Mills is expected to incentivize the purchase of at least 1,000 more EVs. The NRCM survey showed electric vehicles are saving Mainers substantially on fuel and maintenance costs, for a lower overall cost to drive. However, upfront costs and availability of charging stations remain barriers to EV adoption, both of which will be addressed by plans announced today.
“What we’ve learned from surveying EV owners is that they are overwhelmingly enthusiastic about their cars’ reliability and drivability, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend an EV to their friends or family,” said Voorhees. “Electric vehicles contribute to cleaner air and are an essential part of a climate-friendly future, because emissions from cars and trucks remain the largest source of carbon pollution in Maine. EVs will play a major role in helping transition the state away from fossil fuel dependence and toward a clean energy future.”
Efficiency Maine is already leading the way forward in building out EV infrastructure by helping place superfast charging stations on key interstate and highway locations. The plan announced today will supplement that effort with charging stations spread across the state at places where are cars are parked for longer periods—from workplaces to tourist destinations.
Founded in 1959, the Natural Resources Council of Maine is our state’s leading nonprofit membership organization protecting Maine’s land, air, waters, and wildlife. We harness the power of science, the law, and the voices of more than 20,000 supporters from across Maine and beyond to protect the nature of Maine.