Ben Rooks, left, and Nicky Shapiro, seniors at Falmouth High School, raised money to install new electric vehicle charging stations on the school campus. The chargers can be used by the public. Kate Irish Collins / The Forecaster

FALMOUTH — With more staff vying to hook up to the lone electric vehicle charging station at Falmouth High School, two seniors have stepped up to provide more charging capability.

Two new charging stations, each capable of powering up four vehicles at a time, are available in the back parking lot at the school near the utility shed. Students Ben Rooks and Nicky Shapiro raised about $21,000 to pay for the new stations, which the public may also use.

The pair received a $10,000 grant from Efficiency Maine and $10,000 from the School Department. Teachers across the district raised $1,000.

Two new electric vehicle charging stations at Falmouth High School can power up to eight cars at a time. Kate Irish Collins / The Forecaster

The stations on the school campus, off Woodville Road, join those in place at Town Hall at 271 Falmouth Road and at Maine Audubon, at 20 Gilsland Farm Road off Route 1.

Rooks and Shapiro said the new stations are connected to the grid at the high school, with the school district absorbing the charging costs for now. They hope to eventually power the charging stations with solar energy.

They said about 10 staff members now drive electric vehicles. According to data from the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles, 52 electric vehicles are registered in Falmouth, while there are 750 statewide.

The boys their parents don’t drive electric vehicles yet. They hope someday the number of such cars on the road will outnumber those powered by gas.

The boys purchased the charging stations from ClipperCreek because they are compatible with all of the electric vehicles now on the road.

Shapiro and Rooks said they got the idea for the project after talking with engineering and technology teacher John Kraljic and science teacher Andrew Njaa last spring. They geared up efforts over summer break to get the project completed.

Shapiro said sustainability is an important issue “because it’s scary to think what the next generation won’t have (access to) because of what we’re doing to the planet. Climate change is a huge, huge issue for every living thing.”

“It’s pretty terrifying to think that in 10 years (much of climate change impacts) will be irreversible,” Rooks said. “That’s why I want to take every little step I can now to make a difference.”

Local leaders, school officials and state legislators turned out for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the charging stations on Dec. 20. Among them was Jennifer Brennan, program manager for electric vehicle initiatives at Efficiency Maine.

She said in Maine, 53% of greenhouse gases are emitted by personal vehicles, so it’s important for people to begin driving electric if the state wants to reduce its overall carbon impact.

“Public charging stations are really important for a number of reasons,” including reducing fuel costs and emissions, Brennan said in an interview after the ceremony.

“If people know there will be a stable place to (power up) they’re more likely to begin adopting” electric vehicles in larger numbers, Brennan said.

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