Those arriving at the Cross Insurance Center by electric car will now have a free way to charge their vehicles for the drive home.
On Tuesday, the Bangor venue unveiled two new electric vehicle charging stations in the southwest parking lot near Bass Park Boulevard that are free for members of the public to use. Even if drivers are not attending an event, they can still use the charging station, according to Blake Henry, general manager of the venue.
The Cross Insurance Center paid for the installation of the stations in partnership with the city of Bangor and Emera Maine, which is one of the venue’s sponsors.
Besides offering convenience to Bangor-area residents who drive electric cars, the new resource also “is a signal that Bangor is an environmentally friendly community,” City Councilor Ben Sprague said during the unveiling.
Emera Maine representatives also demonstrated how to use the charger on a white Chevrolet Bolt, a fully electric car that can drive more than 200 miles on a single charge, that they had driven to the Cross Insurance Center.
The new charging stations are classified as Level 2, meaning they use a 240-volt power source and can charge more quickly than those classified as the lower Level 1, but are still not the most powerful chargers on the market, according to Consumer Reports.
There are a couple other charging stations in the Bangor area, including another Level 2 station at Darling’s Nissan in Bangor and a Tesla Supercharger at the Ruby Tuesday in Brewer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
The opening of the new stations at the Cross Insurance Center comes as the number of Maine residents driving electric vehicles more than doubled between 2014 and 2018 as the technology has become more functional and affordable, according to a recent survey from the Natural Resources Council of Maine. More than 1,300 Mainers owned them in 2018.
But they still account for just a small share of the vehicles that Mainers drive, with the 799 that were sold in Maine last year making up just 1.8 percent of all vehicles sold in 2018, according to data compiled by Alliance of Auto Manufacturers
The unveiling also comes as Gov. Janet Mills and the Efficiency Maine Trust have announced that at least 50 new public vehicle charging stations will be installed in Maine as part of an effort to move the state to clean transportation.
That project, which will also include initiatives to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles, is being partly funded with a $5.1 million settlement that Maine reached with Volkswagen for its violation of state environmental laws.