Electric Vehicles

[The Nissan LEAF charging up at the South Portland DC fast charging station]

Electric Vehicles: A Key Climate Solution for Maine and the U.S.  

In Maine, pollution from transportation accounts for 42% of Maine’s carbon emissions, more than any other sector.  To address climate disruption and air pollution from cars, we need to:

  • Provide more public transportation choices like passenger rail and buses
  • Increase the fuel efficiency of conventional automobiles through better technology like hybrid-electrics cars
  • Transition our vehicle fleet to electric vehicles charged with clean power like wind and solar

Electric vehicles (EVs) are the cleanest vehicles on the road, as this chart indicates:

Emissions and Fuel Cost for a 100-Mile Trip
(compact sedans)
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
(pounds of CO2 equivalent)
Total Fuel Cost
(U.S. Dollars)
Conventional87 lb CO2$13.36
Hybrid Electric57 lb CO2$8.78
Plug-in Hybrid Electric62 lb CO2$7.10
All-Electric54 lb CO2$3.74
Source:  U.S. Department of Energy 

In more conventional terms, the all-electric Nissan LEAF, for example gets 126 MPGe (miles per gallon gasoline equivalent) in the city; 101 MPGe on highways, and lists for about $30,000 before incentives. Several models of EVs are now available, and the infrastructure of EV charging stations is growing. Plug-In America has an interactive tool to track the EV’s being sold in the U.S.

Growth of EVs in Maine

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, Maine currently (2014) has 14 public EV charging stations, including at the South Portland Community Center, Idexx Corporation, Revision Energy, TidesSmart Global, and the Hyatt Hotel in Portland.  The cities of Portland and Scarborough are incorporating EVs into their vehicle fleets.  The state with the largest number of public charging stations is California, with 1,431 stations, followed by Texas with 509 stations.  

In October 2013, eight states--Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Washington, California,  signed a plegde to get 3.3 million EVs on the road by 2025.  Unfortunately, Governor Lepage's administration refused to join this coalition.  Under the pledge, each state will promote the use of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles by adding more of them to government fleets, providing cash incentives for residents to buy them, developing shared standards for electric charging stations and adopting policies that make it easier to build and use charging stations.

In 2014, as part of its Municipal Climate Action Plan, the City of South Portland is leasing EVs as part of its fleet and has installed more power charging stations


The National Drive Electric Week event at the South Portland Community Center, Sept. 2015

Contact Sierra Club Maine (maine.chapter@sierraclub.org) to find out how you can help to advocate for more EVs in Maine.  

National Drive Electric Week Event, Sunday, September 13, 2015 in South Portland (Sierra Club co-sponsor)

Sierra Club's Go Electric Campaign
Sierra Club's Electric Vehicle Guide
Coalition Letter to N.E. Governors on the Economic, Environmental, and Public Health Benefits of Electric Vehicles

Which EV is Right for You Quiz?
Plug In America
Inside EVs
Green Car Reports
Central Maine Power EV Grant
Electric Drivers Trading Gas for Solar Power
DOE's Clean Cities Blog
EV Resource Calculator
How Clean is Your Vehicle
Maine and Quebec to develop electric car charging network, Portland Press Herald, March 9, 2016. 



CHARGING UP: The Role of States, Utilities, andthe Auto Industry in Dramatically Accelerating Electric Vehicle Adoption in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States (10/15)

Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation