April 25, 2019 – The Federal Highway Administration has designated eight major road corridors in Maine for alternative fuel vehicles as part of an effort to build out a state-wide network of fast chargers. The new corridors will link Maine’s metropolitan areas and major tourist destinations with similar corridors in Quebec and southern New England.
While the designation doesn’t currently come with any dedicated infrastructure funding, states with designated corridors are likely to be more competitive for future federal funding as well as funding from the Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement, said Kristina Egan, executive director of the Greater Portland Council of Governments.
“This helps us prepare for a future in which there will be many more electric vehicles on the road,” Egan said.
The designation will also allow the state to install signs indicating that the highway is part of an alternative fuel corridor, boosting public awareness of the travel options available for electric cars.
On January 31st, The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) asked the Federal Highway Administration to approve its nomination of eight high-speed electric vehicle charging corridors and one overlapping propane fueling corridor. The Greater Portland Council of Governments assisted in the application. The FHWA announced the designation on Wednesday.
The road corridors extend from Jackman to Bar Harbor, from Bangor to Kittery, and from Portland to the mountains of western Maine.
Many states, including Maine, are actively working to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure through the use of the Volkswagen emissions scandal settlement. In 2015, the German automaker admitted to secretly installing software in cars sold in the U.S. to cheat government exhaust emissions tests. As part of that settlement, Volkswagen’s Electrify America project will invest $2 billion in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and education. While California will receive much of the funding, the remaining $1.2 billion will be distributed across the U.S. to affected states.
Using these funds, Efficiency Maine, the quasi-state agency that runs programs to promote energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, contracted the California-based ChargePoint Inc. to install and operate 14 high-speed EV chargers at seven locations between Southern New England, New Hampshire, and Quebec.
ChargePoint will install fast-charge stations at the Maine Turnpike Authority service plazas in Kennebunk (North and South) and West Gardiner, on Rt. 302 in Bridgton, in Farmington near the intersection of Rt. 2 and Rt. 27, and in Jackman and Skowhegan along Rt. 201.
The federal government in 2016 designated the I-95 corridor from New Hampshire to Augusta as a high-speed electric vehicle corridor.