Maine to give $5.1 million subsidy to boost electric vehicle purchases

Maine will provide a $5.1 million subsidy and add at least 50 public vehicle charging stations to encourage residents and companies to buy all-electric vehicles.

Gov. Janet Mills announced the financial incentive program in a news release Thursday. Funding comes from a 2017 award Maine received as part of a multistate settlement with carmaker Volkswagen to resolve environmental damage caused by that company’s cheating U.S. emissions tests.

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Governor Mills and Efficiency Maine Announce Initiatives To Expand Electric Vehicle Use Across Maine

March 21, 2019

Charging Stations and Financial Incentives Target Carbon Emissions in Maine’s Transportation Sector

Governor Janet Mills and Efficiency Maine Trust announced today a set of initiatives that will expand the use of electric vehicles across Maine in an effort to reduce the state’s carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels. The initiatives, which include the creation of financial incentives to purchase electric vehicles and the installation of at least 50 public vehicle charging stations, are in part the result of a $5.1 million settlement won last year by then-Attorney General Mills against Volkswagen.

“Maine people shell out five billion dollars a year to out-of-state fossil fuel companies, and a lot of that money is spent on gas for vehicles that just becomes carbon dioxide pumped into our atmosphere. We can do better. It is time to usher in the next generation of technologies that will move our state towards a renewable future,” said Governor Mills. “These initiatives are a critical step in that direction. By increasing our use of electric vehicles and building out the clean energy infrastructure to support them, Maine is making substantial and meaningful progress in transitioning us away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources, which will help slash carbon emissions and combat climate change. I am glad to see this money I won as Attorney General put to good use for Maine people.”

In 2017, then-Attorney General Mills won $5.1 million for the state after taking legal action against Volkswagen (VW) and its affiliates Audi AG and Porsche AG for violating state environmental laws and emissions through their marketing and sales of light vehicles in Maine.

Governor Mills said today that approximately half of the $5.1 million will be used for a financial incentive program to help public agencies and organizations that serve the elderly, low-income Mainers, and Mainers with special needs, to purchase EVs. Efficiency Maine estimates that these funds also will be sufficient to leverage local funding for 100 new EVs being used in local communities, lowering the operating costs of those fleets, and raising visibility and awareness of EVs and their benefits.

The other half of the $5.1 million in funding will be will be used for a rebate program for the purchase or lease of EVs for Maine residents and businesses. Efficiency Maine estimates the program, which will be modeled on those in use in other states, will incentivize the purchase of approximately 900 EVs – more than doubling the number of EVs currently on Maine roads.

Both of these initiatives come as the variety of EV models coming on the market is growing, with vastly improved ranges and more affordable prices. Currently, emissions from cars, trucks and other vehicles account for more than half of all carbon dioxide emissions in Maine’s transportation sector.

“The Office of the Attorney General brought this suit against Volkswagen because they intentionally violated auto emissions standards, allowing up to 35 times the legal limit of harmful nitrogen oxide pollutants into the air,” said Attorney General Aaron Frey. “The funds from the state’s settlement with Volkswagen are to be used to benefit Maine’s environment, and this electric vehicle initiative will do just that.”

To help build out the transportation infrastructure to serve the growing number of electric vehicles which will spur tourism, benefit the Maine economy, and protect the environment, Efficiency Maine said that it will issue in April a competitive solicitation for bids to install 50 to 60 electric vehicle charging stations across the state at public properties, workplaces or multi-unit dwellings.

Locating the charging stations at a mix of cross-roads and destination towns will make it easier for Maine businesses and municipal governments to introduce more EVs and plug-in hybrids to their fleets and lower their transportation costs since running vehicles on electric charge costs less than gas or diesel.

Additionally, it will complement the parallel efforts underway at Efficiency Maine to develop a network of DC “fast chargers” that can deliver up to 250 miles of range per hour, which will serve Mainers making longer, in-state day-trips and connect Maine’s major corridors and destinations to the growing number of EV drivers traveling on business or vacation from Quebec, New Hampshire, and Southern New England.

“Strategically positioning EV chargers across the state – whether at shopping centers, recreation destinations, workplaces, parking lots, gas stations and Turnpike plazas – will reassure EV drivers in Maine that in fact, you can get there from here,” said Michael Stoddard, Efficiency Maine Executive Director.

“These funds will enable the State of Maine to jumpstart the EV charging infrastructure across the state, benefiting our environment and reducing Mainers’ reliance on fossil fuels to power their vehicles,” said Bruce Van Note, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation, the agency that will fund the initiative through funding provided by the federal government’s settlement against VW.

As a combined result of these initiatives, Maine will be able to: 1) reduce operating costs and conserve Maine taxpayer dollars for departments and agencies of state, county or local government; 2) reduce operating costs and improve fiscal sustainability of organizations serving elderly, special needs, or low-income Mainers; 3) complement the ongoing efforts through the Maine DOT and Efficiency Maine to establish a network of EV charging infrastructure at strategic locations across the state; 4) encourage and promote car dealers stocking and marketing all-electric vehicles to Maine consumers; 5) begin to transform the marketplace for vehicles; 6) raise awareness in Maine of the potential economic and environmental impacts of EVs; 7) reduce Maine’s carbon footprint and 8) spur EV tourism to regions across Maine.

Efficiency Maine Trust is a quasi-state agency governed by a Board of Trustees. It is the independent administrator for programs to improve the efficiency of energy use and reduce greenhouse gases in Maine, primarily by delivering financial incentives on the purchase of high-efficiency equipment or changes to operations that help customers save electricity, natural gas, and other fuels throughout the Maine economy.

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Comment by Willem Post on March 25, 2019 at 5:11am

Hi Eric,

When an EV is new, it’s performance is better than when 8 years old.

The battery would have more resistance to charging, i.e., more loss, longer time

The battery would not hold as much charge, I.e., less range

The battery would have more resistance to discharging, I.e., less acceleration, sluggish going uphill, less range, 

Cold weather and bad roads will make all of that much worse.

Comment by Willem Post on March 25, 2019 at 5:00am

Long islander,

The new EVs entering the market, such as crossovers, have 60 to 70 kWh batteries, with ranges exceeding 225 miles. The cost of the lowest priced models is more than $37000. With delivery, dealer prep, extras and taxes, it would be at least $45000.

People who say this is affordable for Joe and Jane Worker in Maine are seriously deranged

No State has enough money to reduce these prices with the large subsidies required to get people to make a switch.

It would be far less costly to place an annual tax on low mileage light duty vehicles to get them off the road, and to use the tax money to deep retrofit some houses so the fuel and electric bills of the people in these houses would be reduced.

That would be a major boost for the Maine economy. No state bureaucracy would be required. CO2 would be reduced with NO VISUAL IMPACT. A true environmentalist should love that.

I hope Gov Mills reads this, instead of the garbage about hugely expensive FOREIGN, floating, 850 ft tall wind turbines*, or other such scemes, which would add up to a major headwind for the Maine economy, despite all the rosy, inane, uninformed, spinning in the media.

* 600 ft above sealevel and 250 ft below sealevel with a 50 ton counterweight. Cables attached to the

counterweight to anchor it to the sea bottom.

Comment by Long Islander on March 24, 2019 at 9:34pm

Willem wrote "Much less in winter, with snow and ice, and some hills and dirt roads, and some cargo, and some passengers; range will be about 175 miles, when battery is new, about 10% less when battery is 8 to 10 years old."

So using a 165 mile perhaps realistic range based on a battery, say five years old, you would then have to subtract whatever the individual driver's range anxiety tolerance point is. In other words, if the dashboard is saying there are only 20 miles left and that's the point below which the driver can no longer comfortably drive for fear of shutdown, then the effective range is 165 minus 20 = 145 miles.

If in an area lacking charging stations, the range anxiety tolerance point might move from 20 miles remaining to 40 miles remaining, bring the effective range down to 125 miles. Maybe this would be fine for daily commuting to and from work, but something like a day trip from the Maine coast to the White Mountains could be extremely nerve-racking.

Comment by Willem Post on March 24, 2019 at 2:58pm

Hi Eric,

EPA tests EVs in a laboratory.

Car has one driver, smooth, level road, 70F

It measures the kWh, per wall meter reading

The mileage it gets = kWh, wall meter divided by easy one mile.

That mileage is lower than in real life, such as with two people in an EV and some cargo; snow and ice and cold conditions; hot summer conditions; hilly conditions.

EPA does not measure charging losses and vampire losses.

Overall losses, after long-term road test =  kWh, per wall meter divided by kWh, per vehicle meter. 

A new Tesla Model 3, after driving a year in California, had 1.00/0.80, or a 25% overall loss.

A new Tesla Model S, after driving a year in upstate New York had, 1.00/0.77, or a 30% overall loss.

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on March 23, 2019 at 9:23pm

You will NEVER get the full range as advertized, if you want the batteries to last without having an expensive replacement bill. 

The 226 mile range would really be 158.2 for optimal battery life.


The second chart is the most interesting one. In here we see how many charge/discharge cycles the battery cell can handle before reaching the EOL (End-of-Life) – 70 % of the initial battery capacity – in different scenarios.


  • Cycling from 100 to 0 % we get 500 cycles
  • Cycling from 100 to 10 % we get 500 cycles
  • Cycling from 100 to 20 % we get 1.000 cycles


  • Cycling from 90 to 0 % we get 1.500 cycles
  • Cycling from 90 to 10 % we get 1.500 cycles
  • Cycling from 90 to 20 % we get 2.000 cycles


  • Cycling from 80 to 0 % we get 3.000 cycles
  • Cycling from 80 to 10 % we get 3.000 cycles
  • Cycling from 80 to 20 % we get 3.500 cycles


  • Cycling from 70 to 0 % we get 5.000 cycles
  • Cycling from 70 to 10 % we get 5.500 cycles
  • Cycling from 70 to 20 % we get 6.000 cycles


As you can see it’s better to cycle battery cells at lower SOC. For example, if you decide to constantly fully charge a battery cell (100 %) and discharge it till 20 % you can expect 1.000 cycles until reaching the EOL. However, if you charge it till 80 % and discharge it fully (till 0 %), you can expect to triple the cycles (3.000) before reaching the EOL. In both cases you’re only using 80 % of the total battery cell capacity.


Anyway, these battery cell tests were made at ideal temperature (25º C) and moderate C-rate (0,5 C) for both charging and discharging. But what do they tell us about electric car battery packs?

Electric cars already have BMS (Battery Management Systems) that prevent batteries from being fully charged or discharged, however BMS aren’t created equal, some are more protective than others.

Most electric cars have BMS that allow them to use roughly 90 % of their total battery capacity (from 95 to 5 %), but in Chevrolet Volt’s case only 60 % (Gen 1) or 75 % (Gen 2) is usable and that’s why Chevrolet Volt is a clear example that limiting the usable battery ....

Furthermore, not having the option to limit the charge to 80 % is one reason why some Nissan Leaf 30 kWh batteries show signs of rapid degradation.


Summing up, if you really want to take care of your battery try to limit charging to 80-70 %, even if it means that sometimes you’ll need to discharge it almost till empty. Of course this is only advisable if you already know your electric car’s range limits and don’t suffer from range anxiety.

Anyway, I hope that you find this article useful. Remember that electric cars are only environmentally conscious choices if their batteries are durable.

Comment by Willem Post on March 23, 2019 at 8:14am


A Leaf Plus, 62 kWh battery, STARTS at about $37000

Gets 226 miles on a charge, under ideal 70F, flat road conditions, driver only.

Much less in winter, with snow and ice, and some hills and dirt roads, and some cargo, and some passengers; range will be about 175 miles, when battery is new, about 10% less when battery is 8  to 10 years old.

That shorter range will be at about 25% more kWh/mile.

Always think A to Z and worst conditions 

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on March 21, 2019 at 7:32pm
Conv Summer 114,500 /gal 33.56 kWh /gal

33.56 kWh x .16 = $5.37 = 100 miles assuming you use nothing else like heat or A/C or radio or windshield wipers or headlights. Using those essentials it can easily be $10.74.


1 gallon x 2.80 = $ 2.80 = 45 Miles with an efficient vehicle (2007 Saturn Ion), which includes what the EV can not.  

Comment by Dan McKay on March 21, 2019 at 5:59pm

As electricity prices rise and the driving costs of EV exceed the gas powered cars, the ruling class will index gas taxes to electricity prices. If electricity goes up, the gas tax goes up three times as much and as the gas tax becomes depleted, electricity will be taxed three times as much for road maintenance. The path to energy poverty.

Comment by Penny Gray on March 21, 2019 at 5:39pm

House of cards.

Comment by Dan McKay on March 21, 2019 at 4:06pm

And why are they just hanging around when they used to provide 60% of Maine's generation, Wind 

And why do we need reliable Canadian hydro, Wind.
And why do we import now, Wind.


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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