Electric Vehicle Drivers
What will I need to get an Efficiency Maine electric vehicle rebate?
If you are an individual buying or leasing an EV at a participating dealership, you will need to present a valid Maine driver’s license and sign the Efficiency Maine Purchaser Agreement at the point of sale in order to receive the instant rebate. If you are eligible for an enhanced rebate, you must apply for and receive pre-approval before the transaction. If you are an organization buying or leasing at a dealership, you will need to present proof of good standing at the point of sale, along with a pre-approval letter if seeking a governmental entity, tribal government, select nonprofit, or business fleet rebate.
Customers who purchase or lease an eligible EV directly from a manufacturer must apply for a rebate through our website. Participants must submit a completed rebate application form within 45 days of the transaction. Customers seeking an enhanced rebate must apply for and receive pre-approval before the transaction.
What other financial incentives are there for buying or leasing a new electric vehicle?
There are federal tax credits for purchasing or leasing a new electric vehicle (EV). Manufacturers also often offer their own rebates (check with dealers for details).
How much money can I save by driving an electric vehicle?
Driving an electric vehicle (EV) can save you hundreds of dollars in fuel costs compared to driving an all-gasoline vehicle. Actual savings depend on vehicle type and miles driven. Efficiency Maine analysis in 2022 found that the typical annual fuel cost for a battery electric vehicle (BEV) in Maine is just $754, compared to $1,053 for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and $1,975 for all-gas vehicles.
In addition to fuel savings, EVs have simpler electric motors that require less maintenance compared to cars with internal combustion engines. For example, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) never need an oil change! You can use the U.S. Department of Energy’s vehicle cost calculator tool to compare the operating costs of an EV and a conventional gas vehicle.
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?
Efficiency Maine offers “rebate holds” for vehicles that have been ordered with a paid deposit but will not be delivered until a later date. 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 the vehicle through a Participating Dealer, ask the dealer to submit the rebate hold request.
- If you ordered the 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?
EVs are generally less expensive to fuel than all-gasoline vehicles. The cost of charging an electric vehicle (EV) varies 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 multiply fuel efficiency by the cost of electricity. In Maine, the average cost of a kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity is 28 cents ($0.28) as of July 1, 2023. If your EV model requires 35 kWh per 100 miles, then it will cost about $9.80 for 100 miles or 9.8 cents per mile. In comparison, a gasoline vehicle that gets 25 miles per gallon, at a gas price of $3.60 per gallon, will cost $14.40 to drive 100 miles or about 14.4 cents per mile. Visit www.fueleconomy.gov to see the fuel economies of different vehicles.
Will I have enough range for daily commuting and typical trips?
Most electric vehicles have adequate range to fulfill typical 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 (including both gas and electric range).
Does cold weather affect the performance of electric vehicles?
A study by Recurrent Auto found that the vehicles they tested lost between 0 and 32% of estimated driving range at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.* According to an American Automobile Association (AAA) study, average driving ranges fall by 12% in 20-degree weather when the car’s cabin heater is not used. When the heater is turned on, the range could decrease by as much as 41%.**
A major reason for this reduction is the energy-intensive process of heating the vehicle’s cabin. 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.
Cold weather can also impact the charging speed of an EV battery, particularly at DC fast chargers.
Learn more about this topic on our EV blog.
What kind of maintenance do electric vehicles require?
Electric motors require much less maintenance and repairs compared to combustion engines. Since electric motors don’t use oil or transmission fluids, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have no oil to change, while plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) require infrequent oil changes. Both BEVs and PHEVs have regenerative braking, which significantly reduces wear on brakes.
As for electric vehicle batteries – batteries tend to last a while, hence why most manufacturers offer an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on their EVs. EV batteries can degrade or slowly lose usable range, but 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 Maine’s climate.
Are electric vehicles better for the environment compared to cars that use gasoline?
Yes! “The greenhouse gas emissions associated with an electric vehicle over its lifetime are typically lower than those from an average gasoline-powered vehicle, even when accounting for manufacturing” (U.S. EPA). 2022 Efficiency Maine analysis found that EVs eligible for Efficiency Maine rebates emit less than 1/4 the carbon emissions of typical gasoline passenger vehicles. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Beyond Tailpipe Emissions Calculator can help you estimate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with charging and driving an EV or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) where you live.
How long does an electric vehicle battery last?
The lifetime of an EV battery depends on many factors, but modeling by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) suggests that modern EV batteries should last 12-15 years in moderate climates (U.S. DOE). Batteries do slowly lose usable range, but 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 Maine’s climate.
Electric Vehicle Charging
How do I charge my electric vehicle and where?
Most EV drivers tend to charge their EV primarily at home. When home charging isn’t enough, there are public EV chargers. Efficiency Maine has published a guide about charging your EV at home and finding EV chargers while on the go.
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 plug-in hybrid 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 car dealerships. These chargers provide 100-500+ miles of range per 30 minutes of charging.
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 must be plugged into a 240-volt outlet, the same type of outlet as for a clothes dryer. Battery electric vehicle (BEV) drivers generally need a Level 2 charger at home to use their vehicle daily, while plug-in hybrid drivers (PHEVs) are usually fine with a Level 1 charger at home.
Will I need to upgrade my electrical panel at home to support a home electric vehicle charger?
Level 1 charging rarely requires upgrades to electrical panels, as the electricity draw is relatively low. Level 2 chargers, on the other hand, may require panel upgrades. 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. 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 also offer dedicated apps for their vehicles.
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. Level 1 chargers can conveniently plug into a standard 120-volt outlet, but they are the slowest option, generally delivering five miles of range per hour. Level 2 chargers have a higher electrical output and offer about 25 miles of range per hour of charging. DC fast chargers, or Level 3 chargers, are by far the fastest mode of charging, offering 100-500+ miles of range per 30 minutes of charging.
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. Maine governmental entities, tribal governments, businesses, and eligible nonprofit service providers are eligible for a Level 2 EV charger rebate if they have applied for and received an Efficiency Maine enhanced EV rebate.
Efficiency Maine occasionally offers funding for commercial/public EV chargers. To stay up to date with these opportunities, subscribe to the Electric Vehicle Notices newsletter.
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 do I determine the number of charging ports to install at a given site?
Most EV charging locations have between two and six charging ports. There is no simple formula to determine the appropriate number of charging ports for a given location. Some sites choose to start with one charger to gauge interest and add more if demand is high.
What is the difference between a networked and non-networked charging station?
A networked charging station can communicate over the internet, allowing payment to be collected via credit card or smartphone app, and some remote servicing and troubleshooting. In exchange for these services, the station host pays monthly networking fees. Networked stations are also more complex to install and more expensive than non-networked stations. For example, a non-networked Level 2 charger could cost $600 to several thousand dollars, whereas a networked Level 2 charger starts at around $1,800 and can cost as much as $10,000.
How do I get started to assess my site and install an EV charger?
Efficiency Maine has a guide to installing Level 2 EV chargers at commercial and public properties.
Once you’ve decided to install an EV charger, the first decision is between installing it yourself or hiring a vendor. There are full-service vendors that can assess the site, install the charging unit, and collect charging payments via their networking software. Efficiency Maine lists many such vendors on our website at https://www.efficiencymaine.com/docs/EV-Charging-Service-Provider-List.pdf.
Alternatively, you can directly purchase the charging equipment and work with an electrician or local installer to complete your project. Efficiency Maine’s Qualified Partner locator tool allows you to find companies that can install EV charging equipment.
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. The type of charger also matters. For Level 3 DC Fast Chargers, where customers will be charging for a relatively short amount of time, nearby amenities such as restrooms, food, and shops are important. Level 2 chargers, meanwhile, work better near activities that occupy several hours, such as playgrounds and movie theaters.
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?
Does Efficiency Maine offer incentives on electric bicycles (e-bikes)?
Efficiency Maine does not offer rebates to individuals purchasing electric bikes or scooters. However, we are currently accepting applications for our Electric Bike Pilot Request for Proposals, which will fund the use of e-bikes by public housing agencies/authorities, community action agencies, or nonprofit organizations serving low- to moderate-income individuals. Applications for that funding opportunity are due March 7.