Waste Watch: Maine called "deadbeat" on electric cars

Waste Watch: Maine called "deadbeat" on electric cars story image

PORTLAND (WGME) - A car industry website is calling Maine a "deadbeat" when it comes to electric cars. That as environmental groups and some business leaders are asking the state to do more to encourage people to buy and drive plug-in cars.

Portland developer Tim Soley likes his electric car so much he wants to make sure he can charge up wherever he goes. He's installing the first electric charging stations in Portland's Old Port. He says they'll be in the Fore Street Parking Garage, near his new Hyatt Place Hotel and will be a draw for tourists.

"It's amazing the power of the demand that exists and the people hungry to charge their electric cars," Soley said.

But plugincars.com says Maine is a deadbeat on electric cars. Right now in Maine, finding a public place to plug in is a challenge. The Department of Energy says there are only 13 charging stations in the whole state.

Compare that to other New England states:

Massachusetts: 222
Connecticut: 135
Rhode island: 59
Vermont: 30
New Hampshire: 24

"The state of Maine can and should do more to promote electric vehicles," Dylan Voorhees with the Natural Resources Council of Maine said.

Voorhees says he's disappointed state leaders declined to join several other states encouraging more people to buy electric cars. An eight state coalition (CA, CT, MD, MA, NY, OR, RI, VT) has promised to get more public chargers installed, offer incentives, and put electric vehicles in public fleets. It's part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gases.

But our research found, slow electric car sales in Maine. Numbers from the Secretary of State's Office sent to CBS13 show fewer than 200 electric cars registered in Maine.

Volt: 98
Leaf: 42
Tesla: 14

Adam Lee sells electric vehicles and says it's not easy getting people to change their car buying habits.

"It's challenging. In the end, people who are interested in driving hybrid or electric car will seek out the cars; it's hard to convince someone with no interest to switch over," Lee said.

That's just one reason why the Maine Department of Environmental Protection says it didn't join other states, promising an improved network of fueling stations.

"Plug-in infrastructure may make sense down the road for Maine when market conditions develop," the DEP wrote in a statement to CBS 13.

A representative from IDEXX in Westbrook says the company is installing four charging stations for employees to use. South Portland and Scarborough are also exploring grant options to install public charging stations.

Waste Watch: Maine called "deadbeat" on electric cars
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