About Electric Vehicles In Maine

A Few Facts About Electric And Hybrid Vehicles 

With each passing year, hybrid and electric vehicles become more popular, more easily accessible and quite simply, better. But while we have begun to see more electric vehicles on the road here in Maine, our state's drivers haven't fully embraced them as a go-to first option.  

At Lee Auto Malls, we feel that might be because there is still a bit of mystery about electric and hybrid vehicles: what they are, how they work, and how owning one will impact your life. With a gas or diesel vehicle you've got your routine down. You know how it works. and when you need fuel you pull into a gas station conveniently located absolutely everywhere. But if you switch to an eco-friendly vehicle, how will that impact you? Lee Auto is here to help you figure that out. 

 
First let's talk about the two main types of eco-friendly vehicles. 

Hybrid Electric Vehicles: Hybrid electric vehicles have both an electric motor and a gasoline or diesel engine. The two different drives work together to increase the total driving range of the vehicle and its initial power. Hybrids are either a plug-in, where the vehicle is literally plugged into an electric source to power up the battery, or a non-plug-in hybrid vehicle, where the electrical energy is generated by an alternator or braking. There are three main types of hybrids: series hybrids, parallel hybrids and mild hybrids. 
  • Series Hybrid: Series hybrids use the electrical motor to run most of the vehicle's operations and the gasoline engine recharges the battery pack. However, on longer drives (usually over 50 miles) the gasoline engine takes over and powers the vehicle. 
  • Parallel Hybrid: Parallel hybrids are the most common type of hybrid and the one most people think of when considering a hybrid vehicle. They use both a combustion and electric engine, with both engines attached to one transmission to keep the vehicle running with the best fuel efficiency and longer distances. Toyota Prius and Honda insight are the most popular examples of a parallel hybrid. 
  • Mild Hybrid: With a mild hybrid, the electric engine only kicks in when more power is needed or when the vehicle slows down and comes to a stop. This allows the combustion engine to turn off while at rest and reduces the emissions of the engine. The battery kicks the combustion engine on when the vehicle is put into gear and begins to move again. 
Battery Electric Vehicles: These are the 100% totally electric vehicles that work by storing electricity in large batteries. The propulsion comes entirely from electrical energy, and the electric motors deliver almost instantaneous torque, which gives electric vehicles fast acceleration. The most common BEV's are the Nissan Leaf  and the Tesla models.
 
Charging stations 
Plug-in hybrid vehicles and all-electric vehicles require charging stations. Many charging stations are currently free to use, but not all. Since electric vehicle technology is relatively new, one of the biggest concerns for owners is the lack of convenient places to charge their vehicle. While most BEV's have home plug-in capability, a place to charge up outside of the home is a necessity 

Here in Maine, charging stations are more prevalent than you might think. Lee Auto Malls have four charging stations for plug in hybrid and full electric vehicles and they are available to the public for free. Our charging stations are at our following dealerships:


There are also a few websites where you can view charging stations in your area:


Networked versus Non-networked charging stations
Non-networked charging stations are not tied to a specific network and are usually free. Networked charging stations are tied to a specific network (sometimes more than one) and can show if a charging stations is currently being used. They will typically be available to find and view on the network's app, or online on their website. They may also require a membership to access and often come with a monetary fee to use. All of the charging stations at Lee Auto Malls are non-networked chargers. 

Expanding Maine's Charging Stations
There are also some exciting plans in the works to develop and install additional charging stations along major driving corridors in Maine. Some of the planned corridors include I-95/295, Route 1, Route 27 and Route 201 and Route 302. 

In Maine, hybrid and battery electric vehicles are already a viable option for day-to-day driving, and hopefully this information has helped you better understand them. Vehicles like the Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf, Honda Clarity Hybrid and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid are great plug-in alternatives to explore when making the decision of your next vehicle. Give us a call to swing into one of our local dealers to learn more. 

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