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Colorado Releases Welcome Plan to Boost Electric Vehicles

NRDC Expert Blog by Max Baumhefner

Governor John Hickenlooper has given his agencies a to-do list to help the state realize the benefits of electrifying the transportation sector. The Colorado EV Plan enumerates goals, actions, and strategies to deploy charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) and to accelerate the EV market. It’s a timely roadmap that will enable Coloradans to enjoy the advantages of driving on a cleaner, cheaper fuel.

As noted in the plan, Coloradans stand to reap billions of dollars in potential benefits from widespread adoption of EVs. Under a high “Plug-in Electric Vehicle” (PEV) scenario:

  • $4.1 billion will accrue to electric utility customers in the form of reduced electric bills
  • $29.1 billion will accrue directly to Colorado drivers in the form of reduced annual vehicle operating costs, and
  • $9.7 billion will accrue to society at large, as the value of reduced GHG emissions

 

 

While Colorado is already a leader in per capita EV adoption, the Centennial State needs to do more to unlock these benefits and the market potential of second generation, affordable, longer-range EVs, such as the Chevrolet Bolt, Tesla Model 3, and the new Nissan LEAF.

The plan, which was developed by the Colorado Energy Office, the Regional Air Quality Council, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Colorado Department of Transportation, notes:

Despite the growth in Colorado’s EV market, barriers to adoption remain. Lack of public charging, particularly EV fast‐charging along major transportation corridors, remains a major barrier to greater adoption.

The plan looks to the state’s electric utilities and their regulators to help remove this barrier to the expansion of the EV market. Thankfully, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission has already started the conversation with experts about the best way to use its role overseeing the industry to help the state and utility customers  enjoy the economic and environmental  benefits EVs can provide.

The plan builds upon a memorandum of understanding signed in October, 2017, by the governors of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, outlining the “Intermountain West Electric Corridor” along key interstate freeways in the region. The plan also complements the portfolio of investments Colorado will be making in zero emission vehicles and charging infrastructure pursuant to the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust (stemming from the diesel scandal).

Once you put the accelerator to the floor in an EV and feel the rush of pure, unadulterated torque, and zoom past the gas station with no reason to care about wildly fluctuating gas prices, you’ll be reluctant to ever drive anything else. With the release of the Colorado EV Plan, the state is well-positioned to benefit from the most important evolution in automotive technology since the Ford Model T.

Republished with permission from the Natural Resources Defense Council's expert blogs

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