Electric Vehicle Drivers
Electric vehicles (EV) are fun to drive, less costly to operate, and are cleaner for the environment. Learn more about this technology and how to maximize the benefits.
How can I find out who sells electric vehicles in Maine?
Click here for a list of participating Maine car dealerships that offer instant rebates from Efficiency Maine. Be sure to ask your local dealer about additional incentives, such as instant manufacturer rebates and the federal income tax credit. Click here to learn more about the best ways to find a used EV in Maine. Qualified low-income customers are eligible for an Efficiency Maine rebate on select makes and models of used battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) found on Efficiency Maine’s list of eligible used vehicles.
What electric vehicle rebates does Efficiency Maine offer?
Efficiency Maine offers instant and mail-in rebates to Maine residents for eligible new models of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Qualified low- and moderate-income customers are eligible for enhanced rebates for qualifying new BEVs and PHEVs, and qualified low-income customers can also receive rebates on eligible used EVs. Maine Governmental Entities, Tribal Governments, Eligible Non-Profits, and certain business entities may qualify for enhanced rebates. Click here to learn more about these rebates.
What will I need to get an Efficiency Maine electric vehicle rebate?
If you are an individual Maine resident planning to buy or lease your EV at a participating dealership, you will need to present a valid Maine driver’s license and sign the Efficiency Maine EV Accelerator Purchaser Agreement at the point of sale in order to receive the instant rebate. Be sure to check that the EV you intend to purchase or lease is on our list of eligible vehicles before going to the dealership. If you are eligible for an enhanced rebate, you must apply for pre-approval before the transaction. If approved, Efficiency Maine will send you a letter of pre-approval that you must present to the dealership at the point of sale to receive the enhanced instant rebate. Click here for full instructions and links to apply for pre-approval.
Customers who purchase or lease an eligible EV directly from a manufacturer that does not have an authorized dealership in Maine (e.g., Tesla) can apply for a mail-in rebate through our website. Participants must submit a completed rebate application form within 45 days of the transaction. Click here to learn how to apply for a mail-in EV rebate.
What other financial incentives are there for buying or leasing a new electric vehicle?
In addition to the Efficiency Maine instant rebates, instant manufacturer rebates and federal tax credits for purchasing or leasing a new electric vehicle (EV) may be available. Click here to learn more about EV tax credits and other incentives. Check with your local dealer for available manufacturer rebates.
How much money can I save by driving an electric vehicle?
Driving an electric vehicle (EV) 11,500 miles a year, the national average, can save up to $600 per year in fuel costs compared to driving an all-gasoline vehicle.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it costs about one-third as much to fuel and maintain an EV compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle. The average U.S. household spends about one-fifth of its total family expenditures on transportation, so saving on fuel can make a big difference in a family’s budget. In addition to fuel savings, EVs have simpler electric motors that require less maintenance compared to cars with internal combustion engines. Also, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will never need an oil change! Use this vehicle cost calculator tool to compare the operating costs of an EV and a conventional gas vehicle. Be sure to add Efficiency Maine’s rebate amount into your comparison.
I’m looking to buy an EV but the car I want will not be delivered until a later date. Will I still be able to get a rebate?
For vehicles that have been ordered with a paid deposit but will not be delivered until a later date, a Participating Dealer (or, in the case of vehicles ordered directly from the manufacturer, the Purchaser) may request a “rebate hold”. A rebate hold allows Efficiency Maine to reserve funds for the rebate(s) for 120 days or until the purchase is completed, whichever comes sooner.
- If you ordered a vehicle through a Participating Dealer, the dealer will submit the rebate hold request.
- If you ordered a vehicle directly from the manufacturer, you can submit a rebate hold request using the EV Rebate Application Form.
See EV Program Manual for full details about rebate holds.
How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle?
The cost of charging an electric vehicle (EV) can vary depending on the time of day, current battery charge, and the battery capacity of your EV. An easy way to estimate fuel costs is to calculate fuel efficiency of your car in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 miles of range. In Maine, the average cost of a kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity is 21 cents ($0.21). If your EV model requires 35 kWh per 100 miles, then it will cost about $7.35 for 100 miles or about seven cents per mile. In comparison, a gasoline vehicle that gets 30 miles per gallon, at a gas price of $3.36 per gallon, will cost $11.20 to drive 100 miles. You can visit www.fueleconomy.gov to explore the fuel economies of different electric vehicles.
EVs are less expensive to fuel than all-gasoline vehicles. Driving 11,500 miles a year (the national average) in an all-electric vehicle saves up to $600 per year in fuel costs compared to driving an all-gasoline vehicle.
Will I have enough range for daily commuting and typical trips?
With increased battery range and newly available models, most electric vehicles (EVs) have adequate range to get drivers to fulfill all their driving needs, whether it be commuting to work, shopping, travel or leisure activities. According to “onthemap,” a U.S. Census Bureau tool, the average daily commute in Maine is just 25 miles and only 12% of all Maine workers commute over 50 miles per day. The average range of the current models of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) eligible for an Efficiency Maine rebate is 240 miles, while the average range for qualifying plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) is nearly 500 miles. Though existing vehicle ranges can already support the average commuting distance, future models will only continue to increase in range. You can use this link to see more specific range information on eligible vehicles.
Does cold weather affect the performance of electric vehicles?
It is important to remember that across all vehicle types, driving conditions, driving style, and climate extremes all have an effect on battery performance and range. Increased energy usage and keeping batteries at an efficient temperature in extreme cold or hot weather can reduce range anywhere from 10% to 30%, a University of Michigan study found. In a typical gasoline-powered vehicle, the engine generates heat, which is then used to warm the cabin. Because electric vehicles (EVs) don’t have a traditional engine, they must rely on the battery to meet the added power demands (such as heating) that comes from operating the car in extreme weather. The advantage to EVs in cold temperatures is that they de-ice and warm the cabin faster than internal-combustion engines do. Vehicles driven in hot temperatures show a faster decline in battery health. (Good news for the cooler Maine climate!) EV batteries are constantly improving and new technologies are being developed to minimize these effects.
EVs use either electric resistance heaters (similar to a hair dryer or space heater) or highly efficient heat pumps for cabin heaters. Since heat pumps consume far less electricity to generate heat, the cold weather range of EV models with heat pump heaters is significantly less impacted by the cold.
One of the best ways to reduce the demand of heating the vehicle’s cabin in an EV is to include or add aftermarket heated seats. Drivers can also improve the range of their car by pre-heating or cooling the cabin while it is plugged in. Under all weather conditions, altering the use of the heating, cooling, and entertainment systems can minimize the reduction in overall range. Most new models offer an “economy mode” that maximizes the efficiency of the car. Additionally, some new models have battery heaters to warm and keep the battery at the most efficient temperature.
It is important to note that the charging speed of a battery can slow down, particularly at DC Fast Chargers, if the outside temperature is cold. This effect can also be lessened if the battery is pre-heated while plugged into a charger.
Click here to learn more about driving an electric vehicle in cold weather.
What kind of maintenance do electric vehicles require?
Electric vehicles (EVs) are powered by an electric motor requiring drastically less maintenance and repairs compared to cars with internal combustion engines. Electric motors have one gear and fewer moving parts and don’t use oil or transmission fluids, which means all-electric vehicles have no oil to change. Furthermore, the regenerative braking feature puts less wear on the braking systems, allowing them to travel more miles before needing to be replaced. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles share this beneficial braking system but contain gas engines as well as electric motors that require similar maintenance to conventional gasoline vehicles.
Both plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles contain electric batteries of varying sizes. Although the battery may need to be serviced in some situations, recent research concludes that a vast majority of EV batteries will last longer than the usable life of the vehicle itself. In fact, most manufacturers offer an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on their EVs. Although similar research finds that the batteries can degrade or slowly lose usable range, the loss is usually negligible; about 2% per year for an average vehicle. That means an EV with a range of 200 miles could lose about 23 miles of range over a five-year period. Additionally, degradation usually occurs at faster rates in hot weather conditions that are more typical for southern climates as compared to colder northern climates.
Are electric vehicles better for the environment compared to cars that use gasoline?
When compared to a conventional gasoline car, electric vehicles (EVs) are better for the environment over their lifetime. EVs do not emit greenhouse gases or other tailpipe pollutants like cars with internal combustion engines. A typical gasoline vehicle emits more than five tons of carbon dioxide per year. That is more than four times the amount of carbon emissions as an EV that is powered by the production of electricity from the New England electrical grid.
How long does an electric vehicle battery last?
The vast majority of EV batteries will outlast the usable life of the vehicle. To avoid battery degradation, don’t allow the battery to be run all the way down to 0% or left idle if possible. If the “empty” battery is left empty for too long without being recharged, the battery can enter an over-discharge state due to the slow self-discharge state that occurs even when the battery is not operating. Minimizing your use of fast chargers unless you need to on long trips can also preserve your battery life.
Regarding battery disposal, used EV batteries are currently being repurposed for electricity storage. Research is also underway for implementing comprehensive battery recycling.
Electric Vehicle Charging
How do I charge my electric vehicle and where?
Drivers with electric vehicles (EVs) can choose to charge at home, at work, or at a public charging station. Click here to see where public chargers are located in Maine. There are three types of EV chargers:
- Level 1 chargers use 120-volt alternating current (AC) and can be plugged into a standard home outlet. This is the slowest method of charging, providing 5 miles of range per hour of charging. Level 1 charger cords are included with the purchase or lease of an EV and many drivers use them to charge their vehicles overnight.
- Level 2 chargers are the most common chargers and are installed in homes, workplaces and public spaces. In most cases they require the assistance of a professional electrician to hardwire the device to a 240-volt power supply, similar to an electric stove or clothes dryer. These units require a 40-amp circuit and provide 25 miles of range per hour, and will charge a vehicle from 20-80% in about 7 hours, depending on the battery size of the vehicle.
- Level 3 chargers, or DC Fast Chargers (DCFCs), are the fastest way to charge because they use direct current (DC) rather than alternating current (AC) to deliver power to the vehicle. DC Fast Chargers are typically found in commercial settings, such as rest stops and retail stores. These chargers provide between 100 and 200 miles of range every 30 minutes, depending on the outside temperature and that of the vehicle’s battery.
It is important to note that some older EV models have a maximum power rating, meaning that they may take longer to charge than those with newer batteries. In addition, some older vehicles do not have DCFC charging ports and are limited to Level 1 and Level 2 chargers. Click here to learn more about the different types of EV charging.
Click here to learn more about charging your EV at home, and finding EV chargers while on the go.
How do I charge at home?
Home charging is usually done with a Level 1 or Level 2 charger. All electric vehicles (EVs) come with a Level 1 charger cord that can be plugged into a regular 120-volt outlet. EV drivers can also purchase a faster Level 2 charger, which can be installed at your home. Most EV drivers choose to charge their vehicles at home overnight.
Will I need to upgrade my electrical panel at home to support a home electric vehicle charger?
If you plan to use a Level 1 charger in your home, then no upgrade is necessary. A Level 1 charger cord simply plugs into the standard outlet in your home or garage.
Level 2 chargers require a 240-volt outlet, similar to one that is used for an electric clothes dryer. It is important to speak to a licensed electrician to determine if your home’s electrical panel needs to be upgraded prior to installing a Level 2 charger. Depending on where you will park your EV and what other home appliances you use, will determine if you need an upgrade. Visit Efficiency Maine’s vendor locator tool and select “EV Chargers” to find professionals near you with experience installing home EV chargers. For more information, download Efficiency Maine’s guidebook, How to Select and Install a Home EV Charger.
Where can I “fill up” my EV while on the go?
While over 80% of Maine electric vehicle (EV) owners report regularly charging at home, it is sometimes necessary to charge while on the road. Rest stops, municipal buildings, and businesses are common places to find public chargers. A growing number of businesses and employers in Maine provide EV chargers for their employees and customers, too. You can visit the Charging Station Locator to find publicly available charging stations throughout Maine.
If you know that your destination extends beyond your vehicle’s range, there are several smartphone apps and web resources that can help you plan your trip and ensure confident travel. Efficiency Maine maintains a list of EV smartphone apps that are designed to help drivers easily locate and use EV charging stations. Some EV manufacturers offer apps for their specific models. You can also search for EV-related apps in your smartphone app store.
How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?
The charge time for an electric vehicle (EV) depends on which type of charger is being used and the size of the vehicle’s battery. While Level 1 chargers can conveniently plug into a home’s standard 120-volt outlet, they are the slowest option, making them ideal for overnight charging. These chargers can generally deliver five miles of range per hour.
Level 2 chargers have a higher electrical output and are found at most public charging stations and in-home chargers. They have an output of 16 to 80 amps and offer about 25 miles of range per hour of charging, depending on the acceptance rate of your vehicle. All Level 2 chargers have a universal J1772 plug and connect to all EV models.
DC Fast Chargers, or Level 3 chargers, are by far the fastest mode of charging, offering between 100 and 200 miles of range per 30 minutes of charging with an output of over 480 volts and 100 amps. Fast Chargers are the ideal chargers for locations where you would spend 15-30 minutes and are often found along high-traffic corridors where they can quickly extend the range of a long distance trip. There are three different DC Fast Charger connection types; CHAdeMO, CCS/SAE, and Tesla. Only Tesla vehicles can charge at Tesla chargers, but most other public DC Fast Chargers have both CCS and CHAdeMO plugs. Visit the Charging Station Locator to find all Level 2 and DC fast-charging stations throughout Maine.
Are there incentives available for EV chargers?
Efficiency Maine does not offer rebates for home EV chargers. There are federal tax credits available for electric vehicle charging equipment for both residential and commercial use. Learn more about federal tax credits here. Maine governmental entities, tribal governments, businesses, and eligible non-profit service providers are eligible for a Level 2 EV charger rebate if they have applied for and received an Efficiency Maine enhanced EV rebate. Click here for rebate claim form and full details. To stay up to date with current grant opportunities for installing public EV chargers, please visit our Opportunities page.
Charging Station Hosts
What type of charger is best at a public site?
Workplaces most frequently install Level 2 chargers as employees are typically on-site for several hours. Similarly, multifamily buildings typically provide Level 2 chargers so that residents can charge overnight. Other sites that are a good fit for Level 2 chargers include: hotels, restaurants, recreational facilities, colleges and universities, event venues, and other public sites where people typically spend 1.5 or more hours at a time. Highway rest stops and other short dwell-time retail locations typically offer DC Fast Chargers.
How many chargers are typically found at a public charging station?
The number of chargers found at any particular site depends on how much use is expected. Some sites choose to start with one charger to gauge interest, others may install numerous chargers at the same time to save on installation costs. Dual-plug chargers can support two charging plugs, meaning up to two cars can plug in to the same station at once. Busier host sites may want to install more than one charger to meet demand while ensuring that customers do not have a long wait for access. Most locations will have between two and six charging plugs.
What is the difference between a networked and non-networked charging station?
Choosing a networked instead of a non-networked (basic) charging station allows the charger to be searchable online, enables payment to be collected via credit card or smart phone app, and allows for some remote servicing and troubleshooting. There are ongoing monthly fees included with networked stations, which add to installation and operational costs. The upfront costs for equipment is more expensive for networked stations than basic non-networked stations. For example, a basic non-networked Level 2 charger could range anywhere between $600 to several thousand dollars, whereas a networked Level 2 charger starts at around $1,800 and can cost as much as $10,000. If you determine that you do not need to collect payment for the use of the charger, then a basic charger can help to save money on upfront and ongoing costs.
How do I get started to assess my site and install an EV charger?
If you are considering installing an electric vehicle (EV) charger, you could start with a full-service charging equipment company. These companies assess the site, install the charging unit, and can collect charging payments via their networking software. Many host sites take advantage of these services if they hope to collect payments or want to install Level 2 or Level 3 chargers. Click here for contact information for organizations that provide technical assistance related to installing Level 2 and Level 3 EV charging hardware, networking services, and/or project management and oversight.
If you are considering installing EV chargers and feel confident about the potential site for the chargers, you could directly purchase the charging equipment and work with an electrician or local installer to complete your project. Visit Efficiency Maine’s Qualified Partner locator tool and select “Electric Vehicle Chargers” to find companies near you with experience installing and supplying EV charging equipment.
Click here for Efficiency Maine’s guide to installing Level 2 EV chargers at commercial and public properties.
How do I select a site for my public charger?
There are many considerations in choosing a site for installing an EV charger. You will want to consider traffic volume and potential usage, proximity of the charging unit to the electrical box and power supply (to reduce the need for potential trenching and laying conduit), and nearby parking spaces. Other site considerations may include safety, such as adequate lighting and visibility, and protection from the weather, including the need for snow plowing. For Level 3 DC Fast Chargers, where customers will be charging for a relatively short amount of time, nearby amenities, such as proximity to restrooms, food, and shops, are important.
What options are available for installing chargers at multi-unit dwellings (MUDs)?
Multi-unit dwellings (MUDs), condos, and apartment buildings present unique challenges to installing chargers to serve residents. While home EV charging is by far the most convenient and cost-effective way for EV drivers to charge, it can be difficult to determine who pays for the charging infrastructure and the use of the electricity.
- If the chargers are designated to particular residents (more common with condos), it is usually simplest for the residents who own EVs to pay for the equipment and installation.
- If the chargers are shared, a system for the users to pay for electricity may be needed. Some options are:
- Traditional networked chargers where users pay each time they use the charger with a credit card, RFID card, or app
- Membership-based networking system where users are charged to an online account
- Basic non-networked chargers with a monthly user fee assessed to residents who have EVs
Visit our About EV Charging page for more information about EV charging at multi-unit dwellings.
Are there grants available for installing public EV chargers?
Efficiency Maine periodically releases grant opportunities for the installation of public EV chargers. To stay up to date with current grant opportunities, please visit our Opportunities page. Federal tax credits may also be available to offset the cost of your EV charging project. Click here to learn more about federal tax credits.