Potomac Edison, a FirstEnergy utility, marked a key milestone for its electric vehicle (EV) charging station program, EV Driven, in Maryland. The utility’s first three recently installed public charging stations are available for public use to benefit the state's environment by reducing auto emissions.
The first charging station was installed in a parking lot near the Frostburg Museum in downtown Frostburg, in western Maryland. The unit became operational in late March. Charging stations in Frederick, located in a parking lot for the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) train system, and Middletown, located in the highly visible downtown area, became operational in early April.
"A key goal of our EV Driven program is to partner with local communities and state agencies to determine the best locations for EV charging stations," said James Sears, president of Maryland Operations for FirstEnergy. "We are pleased that areas such as Frostburg are eager to support this effort because development of EV infrastructure, especially in the western part of the state, will help reduce 'range anxiety' for EV drivers by making it more convenient and safer to travel to all parts of the state."
EV Driven is a five-year pilot program, approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission, structured to help advance Maryland's goal of making EV adoption more accessible, convenient, and affordable. Overall, Potomac Edison will install 59 charging stations, including both Level 2 and dc fast charging stations, that will be available for public use throughout its Maryland service area. EV Driven also includes rebates for both residential and multifamily charger installations and incentives for customers to charge their EVs during off-peak hours.
Potomac Edison has a streamlined installation process to make it as easy as possible for a community to host an EV charger at no cost to them. When Potomac Edison learns that a municipality, or state agency such as the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) or Department of Natural Resources (DNR), has an interest in an EV charging station, an application is submitted.
Potomac Edison personnel then inspect the proposed site to ensure it is appropriate. Once the location has been confirmed, an engineering design is completed to see what work is needed to connect the charging station to the Potomac Edison electric system. When the engineering work is completed, an installation date is scheduled with ChargePoint, the vendor that will install the EV Driven charging station units.
"Many of the communities in our footprint have been looking for an opportunity to offer charging stations to their residents to help promote the benefits EVs offer," said Sears. "While EV Driven is a Potomac Edison program, we want our communities to recognize it as a cost-effective partnership opportunity to help deploy this environmentally-friendly emerging technology."
Maryland's overall pilot program includes additional EV charging station installations from other Maryland utilities to support a state-wide effort toward reaching 300,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.