News Feature

Surry
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, April 29, 2021
The Gatherings opens Surry’s first EV charging station

Surry’s first EV charging station opens

On April 24, a four-year-old Nissan Model S EV gets charged up at Surry’s first EV charging station located at The Gatherings.

Photo by Jeffrey B. Roth Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Jeffrey B. Roth

On Saturday, April 24, about a dozen people, along with about five electric vehicles, attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the first public electric vehicle (EV) charging station at The Gatherings in Surry.

“My main drive for getting these installed was because I bought an EV but didn’t actually have electricity at home,” said Alice Slater, community outreach coordinator of The Gatherings, a community center located on Ellsworth Road in Surry. “I was getting by okay, charging at work or in Ellsworth, but then I thought that public chargers would be a great addition to our town, and The Gatherings was a perfect place to put them as it’s so central to the village.”

Surry’s EV charging station is listed on the PlugShare.com, a website dedicated to providing information on EV charging locations throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The $2 per-hour charging fee covers the cost of the electricity, in addition to a contribution to the community center, Slater said.

“These Level 2 chargers will add about 25 miles per hour of charging, enough to get you to your next destination,” Slater said. “While here, drivers will likely walk the village, hike trails, visit the wharf, and stop in our local stores to buy something. We expect to see increased visitation from further afield, not just locals, who will typically charge at home overnight.”

Slater said when she first proposed the installation of a public EV charging station, she learned that “A Climate to Thrive (ACTT) Charging Station Program” had discretionary grants available for the purchase and installation of EV charging stations designated for Eastern Maine. The program offered a maximum of $5,000 grant for the installation of at least one (preferably two) Level 2 charger that provides a minimum of 7.2kW per connector, to serve two EV parking spaces, according to the grant criteria.

“This aligns with The Gatherings’ mission of fostering community in Surry, by encouraging people with different interests and backgrounds to come together, as well as educating and inspiring those without EVs to make the leap of going electric—which is better for our town…less air pollution, less noise pollution,” Slater said. “With ACTT funding the installation and Jonathan Hart of ReVision Energy doing a large part of the electrical work voluntarily, it all came together very quickly.”

Hart, a service electrician who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, said that ReVision allows its employees to take off work for a number of hours annually to volunteer for community service projects. When he learned of the project, he agreed to help install the EV charging equipment.

The owner of a four-year-old Nissan Model S EV, Jon Archer, of Gouldsboro, was the first customer to use the EV charging station. The Surry station, he said, provides a halfway-stop between an Ellsworth EV charging station and the EV charging station at Tradewinds in Blue Hill.

“When people realize that the infrastructure is here, and that used EVs are comparable in price to used gas vehicles, yet cost around $1.65 per gallon equivalent to run, and with hardly any maintenance, this is a step that many, many people in our country can now take. It’s not just for the wealthy. It’s actually cheaper overall to pick the more environmentally friendly option. I believe we have reached the point where, for most of us, our next car purchase should be electric.”

For more information on the EV charging station and The Gatherings, visit surrygatherings.org.