PORTLAND, Maine — As electric car maker Tesla has expanded this year on the super-fast charging stations it opened in Augusta in December, Gov. Paul LePage and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard announced a joint planning effort for new charging stations between Quebec and Maine tourist destinations.
LePage said the partnership will help sustain ties between Maine and the province of Quebec.
“The history of the Quebec and Maine relationship is strong, and we must maintain our connectivity with modern transportation infrastructure,” LePage said in a news release. “Electric vehicles have made significant progress and are coming to Maine. It’s vital we have a plan to make Maine open to this important technological change.”
The planning effort would build on existing electric vehicle charging stations, which have proliferated in only the last few years, mostly in the southern part of the state, according to data compiled by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
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NREL figures show that 2016 is also expected to be the biggest year for additions of charging stations of any capacity in the state, with Tesla adding 19 “destination charging” stations at hotels, ski resorts and other locations as of Feb. 1. Those chargers do not deliver the speed of its supercharging stations.
The number added as of February is already more than the 16 stations added last year and the 15 added in 2014.
Couillard said that “electrification of transportation is a major shift in our traditional way of understanding transportation, especially in terms of innovation, research and infrastructure.”
“I salute Gov. LePage’s intentions to add this new dimension to the long-standing relationship between Quebec and Maine,” Couillard said. “We look forward to sharing expertise and to expanding new connections between our two jurisdictions.”
The governor’s office said the Governor’s Energy Office and Department of Transportation plan to work with local businesses, electric vehicle companies and the group Drive Electric Maine to create a plan this summer for the expansion of electric vehicle charging stations around the state.