Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced a public-private grant program to build a statewide network of DC Fast Chargers for electric vehicles.
The specific locations for the charging stations are yet to be determined but are expected to stretch from Garrett County to Ocean City to Southern Maryland and beyond. In the coming months, the $1 million grant program will be advertised to private sector businesses and will be administered and monitored by the Maryland Energy Administration. The departments of the Environment and Transportation participated in the development of this innovative program.
“Electric vehicles are the wave of the future and this network will position Maryland as a leader in the use of fast-charge technology,” said Attorney General Gansler. “This initiative will enable current and future EV owners to use their cars more often, foster job growth in Maryland, keep Maryland money in Maryland and help achieve Maryland’s long-term air quality goals by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
A General Motors manufacturing facility in Baltimore County produces the electric drive motors for the Chevrolet Spark EV, currently only for out-of-state sale. The development of these fast-charging stations will help encourage a bigger EV market in Maryland. Fifteen other EV models, such as the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and the Ford Focus EV, are currently sold in Maryland.
Maryland would be among the first Eastern states to introduce DC Fast Charger stations to facilitate highway travel. The stations, which must be located near major highways, will enable some electric vehicles to reach an 80% charge in less than 30 minutes. Currently, Maryland EV owners charge their cars overnight at home or use a growing network of Level 2 charging stations provided at workplaces, commercial locations or retail businesses, which take several hours to fully charge.
At last count, an estimated 3,000 plug in vehicles were registered in Maryland. While the sale and use of electric cars has increased in recent years, Maryland has set a goal of 60,000 electric vehicles in the state by 2020 — the equivalent of 2.3 percent of all registered passenger vehicles in Maryland.
The money for the project was secured from a settlement with American Electric Power Service Corp., over violations of the Clean Air Act. The legal case was brought by Attorney General Gansler, the Maryland Department of the Environment, multiple other states, the federal government and 13 citizen groups.