Maine’s electric vehicle transition a costly proposition, report says


By Peter McGuire Staff Writer

Public funding for new vehicle incentives and charging stations to meet Maine's climate goals is projected to fall short by more than $100 million, according to the state-commissioned report.


Rapidly electrifying cars and trucks in Maine is the fastest way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and meet the state’s climate change goals, but getting there will be an uphill ride, a new report commissioned by the state says.

Public funding for new vehicle incentives and charging stations is projected to fall short by more than $100 million, many Maine drivers do not want or cannot afford electric vehicles currently on the market, and supply chain disruptions have cut back what auto dealers have available on their lots, the report states.

The transportation sector accounts for more than half of the state’s carbon emissions, mostly from the tailpipes of more than a million commercial and personal vehicles on state roads. Cutting that pollution is necessary to reduce emissions by 45 percent over the next eight years and 80 percent by 2050, as is called for in the state’s climate action plan.

Switching out those vehicles for zero-emission models “appears to be the most important, technologically ready strategy across all modes, due to relatively low fuel cost, high drive-train efficiency and sustained falling costs of batteries,” according to the Maine Clean Transportation Roadmap, a report ordered by Gov. Janet Mills and released last week by Cadmus Group, a Waltham, Massachusetts, consulting firm.

A range of subsidies for electric vehicle purchases, especially for low- and middle-income households, paying for new public charging stations and requiring auto dealers to sell an increasing number of zero-emission vehicles in the state over the next decade are among its recommendations.

No immediate policy change or legislation has emerged from the report, said Anthony Ronzio, deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future.

“The work of the consultant, with input from the public and from industry stakeholders, produced a thorough, data-driven analysis of options as well as an assessment of various efforts underway in other states,” Ronzio said in an email. “The administration is reviewing and evaluating the consultant’s recommendations and determining which, if any, are appropriate for Maine. The administration has not put forward any actions to date based on the report.”


Putting more electric vehicles on Maine roads is the report’s primary thrust, but it recommends other means to reduce how much people drive. More public transit, improved bicycle lanes, walking paths and sidewalks, community design that makes it easier to leave the car home and expanding telework options all help reduce greenhouse gases.

But vastly expanding zero-emission vehicles on Maine roads is still the clearest way to achieve the state’s ambitious climate goals, the report says.

“It is going to be a really aggressive goal and it is not going to be easy, but I think it is feasible,” said Michael Stoddard, executive director of Efficiency Maine, an agency that provides rebates for electric cars and is responsible for expanding the state’s vehicle-charging network.

Right now, the new-vehicle market in general is grappling with pandemic-caused shortages of microchips and other components, slowing adoption of all-electric cars, but that will pass, he said.

The number of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid cars registered in Maine increased by 90 percent over the past two years to almost 5,780 vehicles, according to the report. Charging stations increased by 60 percent to 265 statewide over the same period. Zero-emission vehicles accounted for about 0.5 percent of regular passenger vehicles in Maine last year.

About 980 electric vehicles were sold in Maine in 2020, about 1.5 percent of total light-duty vehicles sold and slightly below the national average.

Maine should have more than 40,000 electric cars on the roads in the next three years and more than 200,000 by 2030, according to Maine Won’t Wait, the state’s climate action plan. But right now, electric vehicles do not have the diversity Maine consumers want, such as SUVs and pickup trucks. The state’s best-selling vehicles are the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 and GMC Sierra, pickups that are not currently available in an electric version. Seven percent of electric vehicles on the market will be pickup trucks by 2024 if auto companies meet their targets, the report adds...............................


The Maine Board of Environmental Protection is considering a similar regulation for commercial trucks. Under the rule, 5-9 percent of trucks sold in Maine, depending on on their sizes, would need to be zero-emission by 2024, increasing to 55-75 percent of sales by 2035.

That proposal is opposed by a collection of pro-business groups, including the Maine Motor Transport Association, Maine State Chamber of Commerce and other trade groups.

In a letter to regulators in November, the group said the regulation had not been considered thoroughly, may not scale to Maine’s economy and would have unintended consequences for businesses in the state.

“For these reasons we support market-driven choices for voluntary commercial adoption of zero-emission vehicles when applications warrant it, not an arbitrary sales threshold that will impact the equipment available in Maine and available to Maine companies, whether intended or not,” the group said. “After all, if the cost of zero-emission vehicles ownership is truly as rosy as the picture being painted, then truck owners will flock to the technology once the infrastructure investments have been made and the technology is proven effective.”

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Comment by Penny Gray on December 26, 2021 at 9:10am

Excellent logic, which is probably why this type of mandate hasn't been adopted.  My 2007 truck gets an average 18 mph, it's a GMC Sierra 1500 extra cab with 8 foot bed.  I just bough a 2009 Subaru Forester, AWD "eco" because my truck has 230,000 miles and is having some issues with the frame. We've had the technology to make fuel efficient vehicles for decades.  Why aren't we?

1984 Toyota Starlet 

Combined MPG: 36  

City MPG: 33 

Highway MPG: 40 

Cylinders: 4 

Engine Size in Liters: 1.3 

Transmission: Manual 

Sold in the United States from 1981 to 1984, this was the first Toyota extensively sold outside of Japan.

Comment by Willem Post on December 25, 2021 at 9:30am

It is not difficult at all.

Just mandate, vehicles will not be allowed to be sold, unless they get 30 mpg in 2022

Then increase it to 31 mpg in 2023

Then increase it to 32 mpg in 2024

Then increase it to 33 mpg in 2025


No person with an existing vehicle will need to be coerced

This is not rocket science

No studies are required 


CO2 would be reduced

Car buyers and dealers know exactly what to do; no uncertainty 

No fires in any garages, or on driveways, etc.

No charging stations are required

No wasting time at charging stations

Just gas up for a few minutes for a 500 plus mile range

Such vehicles would easily last more than 12 years

Comment by Penny Gray on December 23, 2021 at 6:03pm

If you plug an EV into a coal plant to charge it, does that still rate as clean and green?


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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