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Colorado releases plan to support EVs on state’s highways, accelerate EV adoption

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper released of the Colorado Electric Vehicle (EV) Plan, delivering on a directive set forth in the July 2017 Executive Order, “Supporting Colorado’s Clean Energy Transition.” The plan details a series of actions supporting EV infrastructure along Colorado’s corridors. It also lays out goals to accelerate adoption of EVs.

Colorado currently ranks 8th in the US for highest EV market share, according to the ZEV Sales Dashboard published by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. The state also scores seventh for number of EVs per capita, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE). As of October 2017 there were 11,931 EVs (BEVs and PHEVs) in Colorado, according to the ZEV Sales Dashboard. Over the first eight months of 2017, sales of such vehicles were up 73% over the same period in 2016.

Despite the recent 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. Consumers are apprehensive about the availability of public charging including both local, community-based charging stations and fast-charging stations along Colorado’s transportation corridors.

In a survey of current and potential EV drivers, respondents indicated there are numerous locations in Colorado they are less likely to travel to due to lack of charging, with half indicating lack of charging availability as a significant factor in the decision not to purchase an EV. Build-out of an EV fast-charging network is likely to require significant public funding due to the high cost of installation. In addition, high operational costs combined with low utilization may create a challenging business case, further highlighting the need for short-term public investment.

—Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan

The plan has five key action areas:

  1. Create strategies and partnerships to build out EV fast-charging corridors.

  2. Coordinate with Regional Electric Vehicle West memorandum of understanding states on Intermountain electric corridor.

  3. Develop strategic partnerships with utilities, local governments, and other stakeholders.

  4. Update signage and wayfinding requirements to include EV fast-charging.

  5. Ensure economic and tourism benefits and increase access for all Coloradans.

The plan was developed in partnership with the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The agencies and council undertook an extensive stakeholder engagement process with utilities, government entities, non-governmental organizations, and industry representatives.

In October 2017, the governors of eight Western states signed the Regional Electric Vehicle West memorandum of understanding (REV West MOU). The REV West MOU created a framework for collaboration in developing an Intermountain West Electric Corridor. Interstates 70, 76 and 25 are included under Colorado’s commitment to the REV West Plan.

The Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan will be updated on an annual basis to ensure Colorado remains responsive to a rapidly-changing market.

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