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September 11, 2023

Portland’s EV charging stations see a ‘surge’ in use

Photo / Peter Van Allen An electric vehicle "refuels" Monday at a public charger in front of Portland City Hall.

The city of Portland's recently installed electric vehicle chargers have seen usage double in the past six months.

In August, 734 EVs powered up at 19 city-owned Chargepoint chargers, roughly twice the 370 charging sessions recorded in February, according to a staff memo from the Portland Sustainability Office.

The number of charges has increased each month this year, with drivers bolstering their batteries at the public stations more than 4,000 times since Jan. 1.

The city has installed a total of nearly three dozen chargers over the past two years but has said more are needed, especially because of the many residents who rent apartments and may not be close to a charging station.

"People are encouraged to drive electric by the proliferation of new charging infrastructure in Portland and around the state," Troy Moon, sustainability director for the city, told Mainebiz. "We've always believed that increasing the number of chargers available for use would encourage people to drive electric, which is why our strategy calls for building neighborhood charging hubs."

Portland currently contracts with Chargepoint and another national operator of charging stations, EVgo, to provide a mix of electric vehicle hook-ups. They consist mostly of level 2 chargers, as well as some DC fast chargers and a few level 1 chargers.

Last year, the city contracted with EVgo to install eight DC fast-charging stalls and up to 44 level 2 chargers.

"We continue to explore locations for the second bank of EVgo fast chargers. After great effort to place them on Marginal Way near Miss Portland Diner, we have abandoned that location due to an inability to bring the necessary amount of electricity to the site," the staff memo said.

"We are now exploring the possibility of incorporating the fast chargers into the design of Portland Harbor Commons, the new park that will be built at the end of India Street in place of the existing surface parking."

Some of the city's chargers are free for drivers to use while their vehicles are parked; others require a fee of 15 cents per kilowatt-hour of charging. In addition, the city has partnered to provide additional chargers in some locations, and Portland is home to a variety of privately owned EV chargers — including ones offered by Hannaford, WEX and other companies.

More information about the city-owned chargers can be found here.

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September 12, 2023

Comparing August usage to Febrary usage is not a very useful statistic. Of course usage has doubled. Maine is booming with tourism in August. A much more useful statistic will be when we can compare to the same month a year ago.

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