Maine could set an example for other states in the country regarding overcoming rural obstacles for Electric Vehicles (EV) infrastructure. A new Energy News Network report shows Maine has taken several steps into improving its EVs development and coordination.
Maine and the EV opportunities
Although Maine only has 1% of EVs representation within its overall vehicles’ market, companies like Efficiency Maine have already installed about a hundred Level 2 EV chargers in the state.
According to experts, this action sets a foundation for a future Level 3 network. Also, many other private businesses have installed in recent years, Level 2 chargers too.
Another example of the state’s actions regarding EVs development is the nonprofit agency, Downeast Community Partners. This organization delivers food across Maine in three battery-powered Chevy Bolts.
These cars are powered by solar energy and charged at stations near the agency’s offices. Important to note, these charging stations are publicly accessible for the community too.
In that regard, EVs advocates expect improvements in batteries to hasten the transition into a more renewable-based economy.
Besides technology, laws in Maine could be speeding the transition into EVs in the state. The local clean energy law could enforce some rules to help the government reduce its emissions by 2050, as many other countries have committed.
Being the oldest and most rural state, experts think Maine faces several obstacles to its energy transition effort. However, the cited climate action plan could lead policymakers to consider how EVs can benefit those with the greatest needs.
According to the Maine Climate Council, annually, transportation drains approximately $13,500 per household (30% of their income).
In low-income households, the spending can increase a 10% since rural drivers tend to spend more fuel and to have higher repair costs.
While EVs can be expensive initially in terms of purchasing, they only require half to fuel and maintain than gasoline-powered models.
In that sense, analyses show that rural residents who replaced their conventional-gasoline models with EVs saved $870 per year.
Also, EVs prices are dropping since battery costs are decreasing for both producers and consumers. Carnegie Mellon’s research foresees that several basic EVs will have competitive costs with gas-powered models by 2023-2025
Therefore, experts expect EVs to impact the state’s economy positively. Currently, the state spends $2.5 billion annually on fueling vehicles. With decreased gasoline expenditures, more money would circulate locally to address other needs.
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Furthermore, experts predict that several EV companies are developing rural well-adapted models for these types of regions. Those models, for instance, include electric pickup trucks for personal use.
Important to note, Maine has a considerable reliance on personal vehicles. Approximately 72% of Mainers live in a community with no fixed public transportation routes. In that regard, this situation could represent a crisis in the future.
The Maine Climate Council Transportation Working Group said to ENN, the state needs more investment in cleaner and electric public transportation solutions. One of those solutions could be to adopt medium-duty vans in school districts for students’ transportation.
Although many of the proposals regarding EVs face “rural skepticism,” solutions are needed, and Maine can set the example for others in that regard, experts agree.