On Thursday, November 19, Portland Mayor Kate Snyder and Councilor Spencer Thibodeau, Chair of the Sustainability and Transportation Committee, will unveiled a new electric vehicle (EV) charging station in front of Portland City Hall. It is one of several charging stations installed recently as part of the City’s efforts to support more sustainable transportation.
“This EV charging station will allow visitors to City Hall or anyone coming to downtown Portland to drive an EV and know they’ll be able to “top off” their battery,” said Mayor Snyder. “It is one step we’re taking to encourage people to purchase electric vehicles so we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our community.”
Portland’s One Climate Future climate action plan indicates that about 30% of the city’s carbon emissions come from the transportation sector. “Encouraging more people to purchase electric vehicles is a key step toward implementing the plan’” added Councilor Thibodeau. “Our Spring Street and Elm Street parking garages have offered EV charging for some time. As part of this deployment, we’ve installed EV chargers in Payson Park and the Portland Jetport in addition to the one in front of City Hall. The City plans to deploy more chargers in the future.”
The City owned EV chargers currently allow EV drivers to charge for free in order to promote EV ownership and usage.
“The units we installed are networked and give us the ability to charge a fee in the future as electric vehicles gain wider adoption,” said Troy Moon, Portland Sustainability Director. “While driving EVs will reduce the carbon footprint of transportation, we also encourage people to walk, ride bicycles, and take mass transit whenever possible. Reducing the number of miles we drive our cars and trucks is essential to meeting our City’s sustainability goals.”
The One Climate Future climate action plan adopted by the City Council on November 9, 2020 describes comprehensive strategies to advance electrification of transportation in greater Portland. These include broad deployment of charging stations on City property and requirements that new developments install EV charging for some of their parking spaces while making the remaining spots “EV Ready” by installing conduit to facilitate easy installation of charging infrastructure in the future. Strategies also include electrifying municipal vehicle fleets. The City currently operates five Nissan Leaf passenger vehicles and has ordered its first fully electric heavy duty truck from Lion Electric.
The EV chargers installed in Payson Park and at the Portland Jetport were funded in part by a grant from Efficiency Maine.
Michael Stoddard, Executive Director of Efficiency Maine Trust, commended the City of Portland on its introduction of five new EV charging locations, four of which received Efficiency Maine grants. “Within the next five years, there will be tens of thousands of EVs around Portland,” Stoddard said. “Some will be owned by tenants who lack off-street parking; some will be commuters from surrounding communities; others will be tourists patronizing downtown shops and hospitality. Portland is making a wise investment in infrastructure that will attract EV drivers to this great city.”
Efficiency Maine is currently offering additional grants for EV chargers at large workplaces, retailers, and multi-unit dwellings, encouraging private property managers to follow the lead of Portland and other municipalities. To learn more, visit: https://www.efficiencymaine.com/rfp-em-005-2021/.