Chevy Volt Powered by Photovoltaic in Maine

The Chevy Volt arrives for a solar-powered fill-up at our Portland, Maine showroom

Electric car fever has hit Portland!  After years of speculation, development, and delays, a full suite of full and hybrid electric cars including the Chevy Volt, the Nissan LEAF, and the plug-in Prius are all shipping.  Electric cars have tremendous promise – they are comfortable, fun to drive, and offer an incredible value proposition: the possibility of never needing to fill up at a gas station.

Yet, it’s been argued that an electric car is only as ‘clean’ as the source of its electricity. With this concern in mind ReVision is building Maine’s first solar-powered EV charging station.

To start, ReVision installed a 7.92kw solar electric system (comprised of 33 photovoltaic panels) in two awning mounted arrays at our Portland showroom.  The system will produce over 10,000 kWh annually – enough to power our Portland office operations and charge up some electric cars as well.

ReVision has added a Chevy Volt to our site evaluation fleet, a vehicle that blends electric technology with a quiet gasoline engine to alleviate ‘range anxiety’ and prove that US manufacturers – and electric cars – have a lot to offer in the 21st century.  ReVision co-founder Phil Coupe, who’s been trying the vehicle out, gives this testimony:

I can drive to and from work (about 20 mi. roundtrip) without ever needing fossil fuel. Pure battery range is 40 miles, after which a small gas-powered engine kicks on to re-charge the batteries as you drive. The transition from pure battery operation to gas engine is seamless and virtually undetectable–the car interior is silent during pure battery mode and has just a slight hum when the backup gas engine is on

Because it is low to the ground and has a fairly wide stance, the car handles beautifully on both wet and dry road surface conditions. The hands-free bluetooth package is a revelation because I never have to hold or dial the phone during use while driving. With 50% of ME & NH’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from transportation, I believe the electric vehicle is here to stay and play a critical role in reducing our over-reliance on fossil fuels.

While parked in Portland, the Volt gets a free fill-up from a Level One EV charger courtesy of the Sun. We’ll be adding Level Two EV charging capability soon (if you’re now asking: “What about level-three charging?” well, you’re officially an EV geek). Stop by anytime at 142 Presumpscot Street to see the new technology!

And if you missed us on May 21st, be sure to view the film “The Revenge of the Electric Car.” The newest film follows four entrepreneurs battling from inside GM, Nissan, Tesla and a private business who stake everything on the comeback of the electric car. Maine Clean Communities and the Sierra Club of Maine hosted the Maine premiere, attended by over 90 people, at One Longfellow Square in Portland. Read up more on the launch event here: