Colorado moves to put more electric cars onto state roads faster


2015 Nissan Leaf, Denver, Colorado, Mar 2016  [photo: owner Andrew Ganz]

2015 Nissan Leaf, Denver, Colorado, Mar 2016 [photo: owner Andrew Ganz]

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A state at the forefront of U.S. electric-vehicle adoption has set an ambitious goal of nearly 1 million plug-in electric cars on its roads by 2030.

Colorado, which counted 13,000 electric vehicles on the road at the end of 2017, rolled out an aggressive plan this week to achieve that goal.

Its largest efforts go toward enhancing the current charging infrastructure in the state to support EVs.

DON'T MISS: Colorado simplifies electric-car incentive, but axes used models

Colorado has calculated a financial upside of $7.6 billion to $43 billion in cumulative net benefits by 2050, justifying the large investments it plans to grow the state's electric-car market.

Modeled on a scenario in which the state sees a high adoption rate, the Natural Resources Defense Council reports the $43 billion figure breaks out as follows:

  • $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

Old cabin near Twin Lakes, along Colorado's Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway

Old cabin near Twin Lakes, along Colorado's Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway

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On top of that, Colorado stands to clean up its air significantly under this scenario.

The report suggests the state could see "an annual reduction of ozone forming pollutants estimated at 800 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), 800 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOC), and up to 3 million tons of greenhouse gases."

A cornerstone of the plan is Colorado's participation in the Regional Electric Vehicle West memorandum of understanding, which brings eight western states together to develop joint EV corridors along their Interstate highways.

READ MORE: Why Electric-Car Owners Should Be Happy For New Colorado Tax

That memo anticipates fast-charging corridors along Interstates 70, 76 and 25 in Colorado.

Colorado will also focus on 15 highways nominated for electric-vehicle charging station installations under the federal FAST ACT alternative-fuel corridor plan.

Grant programs, including Charge Ahead Colorado and ALT Fuels Colorado, are part of the plan, and the state will use 15 percent of the $68.7 million it receives from the Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Settlement for light-duty electric-vehicle charging stations as well.

To read the entire plan, download it from the Colorado state government website.

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