MIDDLESEX -- Driving an electric vehicle between Montreal and Boston got a little easier Monday when Vermont officials inaugurated a new charging station about half way between the Canadian and New Hampshire borders.
The new station outside a small business complex off Interstate 89 in Middlesex includes a high-speed charger that can give an electric vehicle battery an 80 percent charge within about 45 minutes. Another charger is the more traditional variety that takes several hours to charge a vehicle.
"When we signed an agreement with Quebec to have an (electric vehicle) corridor from Montreal to Boston, this is an example of what we had in mind," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, who unveiled the chargers along with U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and Mary Powell, the president of Green Mountain Power.
Vermont officials and GMP have been committed to making it possible for more people drive electric vehicles and one of the largest impediments is access to charging stations.
"It's almost a chicken-egg kind of thing. Unless you have the charging stations, you're not going to have the electric cars," Leahy said. "People will buy them if there's a place they can charge them up."
The Middlesex station is part of a broader commitment by Vermont and GMP to reduce the use of fossil-fuel burning vehicles as a way to protect the environment.
Powell said electric cars are becoming more common, going from about 300 to 700 in Vermont in a year.
"As we all know one of the things that is kind of a roadblock, if you will, to people going to electric vehicles is the time that it takes (to charge) and the range anxiety that is produced, wondering if they're going to run out of a charge," she said.
Last year Shumlin signed an agreement with then-Quebec Premier Pauline Marois to ensure there were sufficient charging stations along the 138-mile corridor between Montreal and Burlington.
Currently there are 33 electric charging stations in Vermont -- a 30 percent increase in the last year -- with several more planned, but they are not all are along the Montreal-Boston corridor.
Rebecca Ohler, the transportation and energy programs manager for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, said there were 29 charging stations in New Hampshire and plans to include fast chargers in the Hooksett rest areas currently under construction off Interstate 93 just south of Concord.
"We are very much looking for ways all the states (in the region) can get a contiguous charging network," she said.
A Massachusetts official had no information about charging stations between Boston and Montreal.
Hydro-Quebec said Monday there were 18 charging stations between the Vermont-Quebec border and more are being added in other areas.