12:20 p.m. Update: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who by his own acknowledgment hasn’t driven much in the past decade or so, arrived at an event Friday behind the wheel of a black Chevy Volt.

With several dozen audience members looking on, O’Malley exited the vehicle to applause — and then plugged it in to recharge.

The bit of political theater was designed to draw attention to eight new charging stations at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport, as well as several other measures the governor is championing to bolster the emerging electric vehicle market in Maryland.

O’Malley is scheduled to sign three bills next month that lawmakers recently passed at his urging. One will provide a $400 tax credit toward installation of electric vehicle charging stations in people’s home. The others establish a statewide electric vehicle planning council and directs state utility regulators to study how to encourage charging during off-peak hours.

“We have put Maryland on the electric vehicle map,” O’Malley said at Friday’s event, held in the lower level of the Daily parking garage at the airport.

The airport charging stations are the latest to come on line after a $500,000 initiative announced last June to build up electric vehicle infrastructure in the region. O’Malley’s office said the federal stimulus funds have spurred the construction of 65 charging stations in the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas.

While still relatively modest in scope, the effort places Maryland among the national leaders in fostering use of electric vehicles, which cut down on fuel costs and pollution, O’Malley said.

The airport event was one of two scheduled by O’Malley to celebrate Earth Day. Later Friday, O’Malley plans to plant trees with students from the Rivers Adventure Camp in Upper Marlboro.

— John Wagner

Original post: Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport is celebrating Earth Day with the installation of eight electric vehicle charging stations.

The equipment is part of Maryland’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program, which aims to install 65 such stations in the Baltimore-Washington area by June.

Gov. Martin O’Malley will be at BWI Friday morning for the debut of the new charging stations on the lower level of the daily garage.