Senator Lawrence, Representative Zeigler, and members of the Joint Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology, my name is Josh Caldwell. I am the Climate & Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator at the Natural Resources Council of Maine. NRCM has been working for more than 60 years to protect, restore, and conserve Maine’s environment, on behalf of our 25,000 members and supporters. I’m here today to testify in support of LD 524, An Act Requiring the Installation of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in New Commercial and Multifamily Parking Lot Construction.
Decarbonization of the transportation sector is a top priority in Maine’s Climate Action Plan. There are several important strategies to achieve this aim, but deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) is the most important, technologically ready strategy to meet our near- and long-term climate goals. Transitioning to EVs at the level called for in Maine’s Climate Action Plan is possible. Electric vehicles come with lower fuel and maintenance costs, and the auto industry is decisively moving toward electrification, with more new models available every year. But this transition will require a statewide network of charging infrastructure along our highways, in our village centers, and at our workplaces that can support an exponentially expanding population of EVs.
This bill is a smart way to ensure that certain new buildings incorporate those needs as they are designed and built. Estimates show that electric vehicle supply equipment installation costs increase by two to six times if a parking space is made EV-ready after construction compared to during construction.¹ EV-ready building codes are a key recommendation in Maine’s Clean Transportation Roadmap as EV-ready and EV-capable building codes are critical for reducing the cost of future charging installation on the customer side.
Availability of charging for multi-unit dwellings (MUDs) is also a key recommendation in the Clean Transportation Roadmap. Providing charging for residents of MUDs unlocks latent demand for EVs as 21% of Maine households are in MUDs (buildings with 2+ households).² NRCM’s 2022 survey of Maine EV drivers found that, while EV owners are overwhelmingly happy driving EVs and saving money, the top two concerns they hold are about range and the availability of chargers.³ This legislation would directly address both of those concerns and encourage EV uptake amongst Maine consumers. Further, our survey found that 73% of EV drivers are more likely to frequent a business if charging is available at that location.
The provisions outlined in this legislation would reduce the cost of EV charger installation for Mainers, accelerate the adoption of EVs throughout the state, and stimulate local economies. Our approach to climate change must be oriented around least-cost proactive solutions, and EV charger-ready spaces are a good illustration of that approach.
For these reasons, we urge the committee to vote Ought to Pass on this bill. Thank you for your time. I am happy to answer any questions you may have.