Electric Vehicle Drivers
Electric vehicles 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. Used electric vehicles, although not eligible for the Efficiency Maine rebate or federal tax credits, can be found at dealerships and through private sale.
What electric vehicle rebates does Efficiency Maine offer?
Efficiency Maine offers instant rebates to Maine residents of $1,000 and $2,000 for eligible models of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), respectively. Efficiency Maine also provides enhanced rebates of up to $7,500 for governmental entities and up to $3,000 for qualified low-income Mainers. Learn more by visiting the EV Accelerator rebate page.
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 also be available. Instant manufacturer rebates can be considerable but change from time to time, so check with your local dealer. Federal tax credits apply to new EVs and PHEVs until a model sells 200,000 units. Check here to see existing tax credits.
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 half 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, therefore 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 a EV and a conventional gas vehicle. Be sure to add Efficiency Maine’s rebate amount into your comparison. for a vehicle cost calculator to compare the operating costs of EVs to conventional gas vehicles.
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 of estimating 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 sixteen cents ($0.16). For example, if your EV model requires 35 kWh per 100 miles, then it will cost about $5.71 for 100 miles or about six cents per mile. Generally, it is most cost-effective to charge your vehicle overnight or early morning during your utility’s “off-peak” rate times. You can visit the EPA’s 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 2019 models of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) eligible for an Efficiency Maine rebate is 170 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 recent University of Michigan study found. In a typical gas-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.
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 2020 models have battery heaters to warm and keep the battery at the most efficient temperature.
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 as the conventional gas vehicle.
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 2.3%. That means an EV with a range of 150 miles could lose about 17 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 gas cars?
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 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. 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, requiring 8 to 15 hours (or more) to fully charge the battery. 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 between 14 and 35 miles of range an hour, with a full charge ranging from three to ten hours depending on the battery size in the vehicle.
- Level 3 chargers, or DC Fast Chargers (DCFCs), are the fastest way to charge because they use direct current (DC) rather than AC to deliver power to the vehicle. Fast Chargers are typically found in commercial settings, such as rest stops and at businesses. These chargers provide around 40 miles of range every 10 minutes depending on the outside temperature and that of the vehicle’s battery.
It is important to note that some older electric vehicle models have a maximum power rating, meaning that they may take longer to charge than those with newer batteries. In addition, some 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 electric vehicle 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 110 outlet. Electric vehicle 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 V 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 electric vehicle and what other home appliances you use, will determine if you need an upgrade. Visit Efficiency Maine’s Qualified Partner locator tool and select, “Electric Vehicle Chargers” to find professionals near you with experience installing and supplying Level 2 electric vehicle charging equipment.
Other than at home, where can I “fill-up” my electric vehicle 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 electric vehicle 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. The regional Transportation and Climate Initiative of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states maintains a list of electric vehicle 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 110 V outlet, they are the slowest option, making them ideal for overnight charging. These chargers can generally deliver between 3.5 and 6.5 miles of range per hour, taking anywhere from 8 to 15 hours (or more) to fully charge the battery.
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 40 amps and offer 14 to 35 miles of range per hour of charging, depending on the capacity of your vehicle’s battery. All Level 2 chargers have a universal “J’ plug and connect to all electric vehicle models.
DC Fast Chargers, or Level 3 chargers, are by far the fastest mode of charging, offering between 60 and 100 miles of range with an output of over 480 volts and 100 amps. Fast Chargers are the ideal chargers for locations where you would spend 20 minutes to an hour and are often found along high-traffic corridors where they can quickly extend the range of a long distance trip. It is important to note that not all vehicles are compatible with DC Fast Chargers and that there are three different connection types; CHAdeMO, CCS/SAE, and Tesla with each only connecting to specific electric vehicles. Visit the Charging Station Locator to find all Level 2 and DC fast-charging stations throughout Maine.
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. Grocery stores and other businesses serving multiple customers or busy through-traffic typically provide Level 2 chargers while highway rest stops offer faster Level 3 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 usage 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. Many charging stations can support one or 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 two to 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 additional and on-going monthly fees included with networked stations, which adds to installation and operational costs. The overall upfront costs for equipment and installation are also much more expensive for networked stations compared to basic non-networked stations. For example, a basic non-networked Level 2 charger could range anywhere between $650 to several thousand dollars, whereas a networked Level 2 charger starts at around $4,000 and can cost as much as $7,000.
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 who provide technical assistance related to installing Level 2 and Level 3 EV charging hardware, networking services, and/or project management/oversight.
If you are considering installing a Level 2 charging station and feel confident about the potential site for the charger, 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 Level 2 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, (so as 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) could be important.