Letter about Mass Pike EV Chargers

June 6, 2022   Letter

Secretary Jamey L. Tesler

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

10 Park Plaza, Suite 4160

Boston, MA 02116

Dear Secretary Tesler,

As you know, the transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in

Massachusetts, and the electrification of vehicles is one of the most important strategies for

reducing those emissions. We appreciate the Baker administration’s goal of having 750,000 zeroemission

vehicles on the road by 2030 and the work that the Massachusetts Department of

Transportation has done to help the Commonwealth reach it.

We are writing to share our disappointment that EV chargers at multiple rest stops along the

Massachusetts Turnpike have been broken for more than a year. The continued inoperability of

these chargers hampers the Commonwealth’s ability to reach its EV goals, not only because it

makes it more difficult for EV drivers to travel across the Commonwealth, but also because it

feeds into an inaccurate yet prevalent narrative that EVs are not reliable for long-distance travel.

Indeed, the psychological impact of these broken chargers on residents whom we would like to

become EV drivers may be even more detrimental than their practical impact on residents who

already own EVs.

We know that anxieties about vehicle range and charging are dissuading many consumers from

purchasing EVs. A recent survey conducted by Autolist asked 1,300 car purchasers to list

reasons why they were not considering an EV. Among the respondents, 44 percent said they

were worried about vehicle range, and 36 percent were worried about finding a charger. The only

reason cited more often was the cost of purchasing an EV.1

For many Massachusetts residents who share those range and charging concerns, the sight of

broken EV chargers along the Pike will further entrench their reluctance to purchase an EV. That

is a frustrating missed opportunity, because highly visible, fully-functioning EV chargers along

the Pike would have the exact opposite effect: alleviating consumer anxieties and helping us

achieve our EV adoption goals.

The climate bill the Senate passed in April—the Drive Act—features policies and investments to

support a robust statewide charging network, and it devotes specific attention to the Pike. Section

56 of the bill requires MassDOT to install and maintain public charging stations at every service

plaza on the highway. Regardless of whether section 56 ends up as part of the final compromise

between the branches, we want to be confident that current and future chargers along the Pike

will be carefully maintained, because access to charging is key to the Senate’s climate strategy.

We would like to see the broken EV chargers on the Pike returned to operation by no later than

July 1 of this year, ahead of the busiest periods of summer travel. We would also like to know

that there is a plan in place to ensure that future issues with chargers are resolved immediately.

To those ends, we ask that you provide us with the following information:

1. For each EV charger along the Pike: the location of the charger, the ownership of the

charger, the entity responsible for the operation and maintenance of the charger, and

whether the charger is currently operable.

2. For each EV charger along the Pike that is inoperable: the date on which MassDOT

learned that the charger was inoperable, an explanation of why the charger is inoperable,

an explanation of why the charger has not been returned to operation, and MassDOT’s

plan to ensure that the charger is returned to operation by July 1, 2022.

3. An explanation of MassDOT policies or procedures relating to the operation and

maintenance of EV chargers along the Pike, including contractual uptime, repair, or

maintenance requirements, if any.

4. An explanation of how MassDOT will ensure, moving forward, that when EV chargers

along the Pike become inoperable, they are returned to operation with minimal delay.

5. MassDOT’s plans to install additional EV chargers along the Pike, if any, and the

timeline for installing them.

Thank you for your attention to this letter, and for your continued partnership in achieving the

twin goals of accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles and reducing Massachusetts’

transportation sector emissions.

Sincerely,

Cynthia Stone Creem

Chair, Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change

Michael J. Barrett

Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy

1 “Survey: Price and Range, Not Gas Prices, Dominate Worries About EVs”, Autolist, May 26, 2022,

https://www.autolist.com/news-and-analysis/2022-survey-electric-vehicles.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts General Court