Bath installing more electric vehicle charging stations – Portland … – Press Herald

Bath’s electric vehicle infrastructure is getting a jolt.

Four electric vehicle charger hookups will be installed at the Patten Free Library, in addition to the city’s first two free public hookups at the Bath Regional Information Center on Commercial Street. Construction on the new chargers is set to start this summer, and they will be online by November, according to Rod Melanson, the city’s director of sustainability and environment.

A Chevrolet Volt gets a “fill-up” at a charging station in Portland. Yoon S. Byun / Portland Press Herald file photo

The library chargers will cost between 2 cents and 6 cents per mile to charge and accept credit card payments, like a parking meter.

All the chargers are Level 2 strength, meaning they can charge 10-20 miles of range per hour. The library chargers will cost about $50,000 to install. The city received a $20,000 grant from Efficiency Maine and a $8,000 grant from the Nature Conservancy for the project; the city also applied for a Community Development Block Grant to help cover the remaining cost.

“This is a priority corridor to put in charging stations,” Melanson said, noting they are along the heavily traveled Route 1 near Bath Iron Works. “It’s part of doing a good job of planning for what may be an increased demand (for electric vehicles) on these areas over the next 10-15 years. We’re going to seeing a different landscape … at least we’re getting ahead and preparing for that.”

Gov. Janet Mills has said she is prioritizing expanding the state’s electric vehicle charging network. In 2021, Efficiency Maine built a network of fast-charging Level 3 electric vehicle plugs at seven locations across the state, increasing the total number of public charging ports to around 500, according to the Portland Press Herald.

“Maine Won’t Wait,” the state’s climate action plan, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030 — a goal the Bath City Council endorsed in 2022. The plan estimates Maine needs 219,000 light-duty electric vehicles, or 20% of all vehicles, on the road by 2030 to help meet that target. It’s an ambitious goal, as in 2021 there were only 3,040 registered EVs in the state.

Bath’s Climate Action Commission proposed another electric vehicle-supporting measure that would require parking lots with more than five spaces to have electric vehicle charging capacity. It was modeled after a resolution passed by the South Portland City Council in December.

The Bath commission’s plan proposes that apartment buildings with three or more units have 20% of parking spaces equipped with an electric vehicle charger. Commission member Connor English said it aligns with the state’s climate action plan.

“If one of five cars are electric in the community, then we probably need to have one in five parking spaces to have electric charging,” English said.

He said it’s important for people with electric vehicles who rent and may not be able to build their own charger to at least have access to one.

“It can be really challenging for folks who don’t own their own home, so we’re trying to help facilitate that a little bit,” he said.

The plan, which would require hotels to have chargers in 20% of spaces and require employee lots to have chargers in 10% of spaces, is in its early stages and will be discussed by the City Council and Planning Board in the coming weeks.


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