People gather around as an electric vehicle charging station is unveiled in the southwest parking lot of Cross Insurance Center in March 2019. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

Two new electric vehicle charging stations are now available for public use in Bangor. 

One of the chargers is located at the Abbot Square parking lot across from the Bangor Public Library, and the other is located inside the Pickering Square Parking Garage. 

The charging stations are made possible through $50,000 in funding awarded to the city last March to help develop electric vehicle charging infrastructure, as well as create a resilience plan for the Bangor Waterfront. 

Bangor already has electric vehicle charging stations in the Pickering Square parking garage, and in the Cross Insurance Center parking lot. Electric vehicle charging stations are also spreading throughout Maine’s northern and eastern regions due to an Efficiency Maine program. 

Electric vehicles are a key component of Gov. Janet Mills’ clean energy goals. Mills’ climate action plan aims to reduce Maine’s greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, compared with levels recorded in 1990.

The state needs 219,000 light-duty electric vehicles, or 1 in 6 vehicles, on the road by 2030 to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent. However, a report issued by the Mills administration last December said Maine doesn’t have enough money to meet its electric vehicle goals.

The state is hoping to combat slow uptake of electric vehicles by offering a tax credit for electric vehicle owners. 

Starting on Jan. 1, consumers can get a tax credit of up to $7,500 to buy an electric vehicle, with caveats that include the price of the vehicle and the battery it uses. Used vehicles may qualify for up to a $4,000 credit.

The clean vehicle credit would help defray the cost of an electric vehicle, which typically is a few thousand dollars pricier than a gas car. Tax credits are subtracted from the amount of federal taxes you owe. You pay the full price when purchasing the vehicle, and the government pays you back at tax time.

But future requirements in the act to decrease or eliminate foreign-made parts in cars would disqualify vehicles from the credit if manufacturers can’t quickly meet the new obligations, so buyers need to carefully check government websites outlining which cars qualify.

The Internal Revenue Service lists qualifying criteria, and the Department of Energy lists car models that qualify and allows buyers to search by vehicle identification number.

Generally, vehicles need to be assembled in North America. Cars cannot cost more than $55,000 and vans and trucks can’t cost more than $80,000.

The tax credit program is part of a larger statewide plan to offer incentives to Mainers to adopt greener energy habits. 

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.