By Lou Varricchio

A Brandon man is leading the way to increase awareness about electric vehicles (EVs) and to expand fast-charging stations around the area. Dr. Michael Shank is a leading advocate for EV transportation.

When Green Mountain Power (GMP) announced on March 9 that it is launching a program to expand fast charging for electric vehicles (EVs) in Vermont, as a way to directly confront the state’s largest source of carbon emissions: transportation, Dr. Shank was front and center.

“This move by GMP brings us that much closer to a fully networked Vermont, where EV drivers can find fast-charging stations easily, whether they’re driving to work or school, or to hike, hunt or ski,” said Dr. Shank, a co-organizer of Brandon’s EV Festival and communications director for the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance. “The easier it is to charge your way around the state, the easier it is for drivers to make the EV switch, leaving the air cleaner for all Vermonters. Electric highways and green roadways are the future. GMP is bringing that future to Vermont today.”

“We know more Vermonters will make the switch to EVs when they have greater access to fast charging, especially in rural areas. This is a win for EV drivers and for GMP customers because the program is designed to more than pay for itself, returning savings back to customers,” said Mari McClure, GMP’s president and CEO. “We are focused on offering cost-effective solutions to reduce carbon emissions while increasing affordability for all of our customers, and this pilot program does that.”

Use of fast chargers across GMP’s service area doubled last year, showing the growing need for expanding access, McClure said. She noted that Vermont also has more than $2 million in Volkswagen grant money available for fast charging expansion and those applying to the state program can also apply for extra savings through the pilot program.

“We are actively seeking applicants to deploy strategically located electric vehicle fast-charging stations. GMP’s investment, tied directly to the state’s efforts, will lead to additional interest and an increase in the number of fast chargers in Vermont. This kind of cost-effective approach to charging infrastructure is what will make the transition to electric vehicles practical for everyone,” said Ted Brady, deputy secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

GMP has filed the pilot program with state regulators, and can begin enrolling qualified customers March 20.