Casco drives toward green technology

POSING FOR FEB. 11 RIBBON-CUTTING ceremony are: (Front row, left to right) Lake Region Green Independent Party member Joe Cerny, of Gorham; Lake Region Green Independent Party member Mike Wakefield, of Standish; Casco Energy Committee member Nadia Hermos; Loon Echo Land Trust board member Connie Cross; Casco Town Manager Dave Morton; and Casco Energy Committee Chairman Peg Dilley; (Middle, behind Dilley) Hybrid car owner Carl Bishop, Howell Laboratories employee; (Back row, left to right) Attorney Dawn Dyer; Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce Director Amee Senatore; Casco Selectman Mary-Vienessa Fernandes; Lake Region Green Independent party member Lisa Willey, of Casco; and Chairman of Casco Board of Selectmen Grant Plummer. (De Busk Photo)

POSING FOR FEB. 11 RIBBON-CUTTING ceremony are: (Front row, left to right) Lake Region Green Independent Party member Joe Cerny, of Gorham; Lake Region Green Independent Party member Mike Wakefield, of Standish; Casco Energy Committee member Nadia Hermos; Loon Echo Land Trust board member Connie Cross; Casco Town Manager Dave Morton; and Casco Energy Committee Chairman Peg Dilley; (Middle, behind Dilley) Hybrid car owner Carl Bishop, Howell Laboratories employee; (Back row, left to right) Attorney Dawn Dyer; Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce Director Amee Senatore; Casco Selectman Mary-Vienessa Fernandes; Lake Region Green Independent party member Lisa Willey, of Casco; and Chairman of Casco Board of Selectmen Grant Plummer. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — The Town of Casco has driven in the direction desired and dictated by its voting public.

This winter, an electric car charger was installed outside the Casco Community Center. This summer, two more car chargers will make appearances at other locations in Casco.

While rural Maine is a tough spot to drive a purely electric car, many residents in small towns are testing out the automobile industry’s latest hybrid technology. That means when the vehicle’s battery runs low, the electric car will switch to its gas-powered engine. So, like the homeowner who burns wood in a woodstove to offset the cost of propane or diesel heat, the hybrid owners spend less on gasoline.

Carl Bishop is among the Mainers who have been intrigued enough with the technology to purchase a hybrid.

Bishop brought his vehicle to Casco’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the town’s electric car charger. The event was held on the afternoon of Feb. 11.

More than a dozen people showed up for the midday event, including two chamber directors: Sue Mercer with Greater Bridgton Lakes Chamber of Commerce and Aimee Senatore with Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. Also, members of the Lakes Region Green Independent Party joined the ribbon-cutting get-together.

As demonstrated at Casco Town Meeting in 2014, the voting community backed the idea of testing out the charging stations in their town. In fact, the line-item budget was increased to pay for the infrastructure that supports and attracts the people who are on the roads in electric cars.

It was a practical move, according to Casco Energy Committee Chairman Peg Dilley, who helped to coordinate the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony.

After all, it makes good economic sense to invest in this infrastructure because it will bring people to those electric car chargers, where it takes two or three hours to be road-ready again. That means more time and, most likely, money spent in Casco, Dilley said.

NOW, IT WILL BE AS EASY as pie for people driving electric cars to recharge their batteries in the Casco Village. This cake was the centerpiece at the refreshment table following a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the electric car charger. (De Busk Photo)

NOW, IT WILL BE AS EASY as pie for people driving electric cars to recharge their batteries in the Casco Village. This cake was the centerpiece at the refreshment table following a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the electric car charger. (De Busk Photo)

Those who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony quizzed Bishop about the vehicle.

He said when he bought the Prius Hybrid at a discounted price from the dealer, he received a tax credit for that purchase.

“It has been cost effective,” he said.

He can drive it about 62 miles before the fully-charged engine switches to the gas-powered option.

He figures that in the past year he has saved the cost of 123 gallons at the pump. But, he’s glad to have that backup.

“A pure electric car is not practical” in rural areas, he said.

Despite the down-to-earth reasons for buying a hybrid, sometimes driving it is like being part of a science-fiction adventure.

“It’s like driving (the Enterprise) in Star Trek ‘cause it lights up,” Bishop said.

 

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