Maryland has added 17 electric vehicle charging parking spaces to an existing catalog of nearly two dozen at passenger rail stations, bolstering the number of charging spaces at those facilities to 39, state officials said Monday. The best part? The charging is free.

The new spaces serve eight rail stations, doubling the number of locations across the state in which electric vehicle charging is available to 16.

“These new charging stations make transit more convenient and efficient,” Maryland Transit Administrator Paul Comfort, said in a news release. “Our partnership with [the Maryland Energy Administration] allows for the growth and expansion of transit and electric cars – two green modes of transportation.”

Most of the stations offer a single “dual-charger” with cords that can extend to two cars, charging both of them over the course the eight to 10 hours a commuter would park in the space, said Patrick McMahon, environmental specialist/bicycle & pedestrian planner with MTA. Construction of the new spaces, which began in January, was backed by a $1 million grant from the Maryland Energy Administration. For now, McMahon said in an interview, vehicle charging will be free. That could change a year from now, as demand rises and the cost of the electricity grows from its current yearly tab of about $2,000 or $3,000, in his estimation.


An electric vehicle charging station in Maryland.

MTA, which began installing electric vehicle charging stations at its facilities in 2011, says the initiative promotes green transportation and environmental awareness efforts. While electric vehicles (including plug-in hybrids) only comprise 0.72 percent of the auto market, according to statistics an investment advisory firm provided The Post in March, the market is expected to grow. The problem: the vehicles have limited range — usually less than 100 miles per charge — meaning charging stations need to be placed around the country to facilitate their use.

“One of the challenges in acceptance of electric cars is this perception that’s often described as range anxiety,” McMahon said, describing the phenomenon as “the idea that people are afraid they’re going to run out of charge before they go to their location.”

“Having charging locations at our transit stations and in other locations is part of an attempt to sort of address that concern,” he said.

The new spaces can be found at the following Maryland rail stations:

Light rail

  • Cromwell/Glen Burnie: two parking spaces and capacity for four more
  • Lutherville: two parking spaces and capacity for four more
  • North Linthicum: two parking spaces and capacity for four more

Metro subway:

  • Milford Mill: two parking spaces and capacity for four more

MARC

  • Monocacy (Brunswick Line): two parking spaces and capacity for four more
  • Muirkirk (Camden Line): two parking spaces and capacity for four more
  • Halethorpe (Penn Line): two parking spaces and capacity for four more
  • West Baltimore (Penn Line): three parking spaces

The leftover funds will go toward equipping two to three more locations with charging stations during the next nine months.

“The electric vehicle market continues to experience exponential growth, giving drivers more options to save money on gasoline while reducing carbon pollution,” said MEA Director A. Leigh Williams, in the release. “MEA is proud to work with MTA to advance both sustainable transportation and business efforts throughout our state.”

State officials said each of the new charging locations is equipped to add more spaces as demand grows.

A map of available charging stations in Maryland can be found here.