Colorado pursuing more EV stations for statewide travel

Some electric vehicle proponents have insisted that if more charging stations are available, then more EVs will follow and replace vehicles using internal combustion engines. Colorado’s hoping it’s true.

The recently announced Colorado Electric Vehicle (EV) Plan aims to provide a network of EV charging stations that will enable EVs to travel throughout the state.

“The Colorado EV Plan serves as a roadmap to build out a fast-charging network, giving Coloradans the ability to travel anywhere in the state in an EV,” said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. “The plan includes a set of goals and strategies that ensure Colorado continues leading in adoption of EVs and leverages the economic development and tourism benefits.”

HWT learned that those DC fast-charging stations are intended to support light-duty EVs.

“The intent is for light-duty vehicle charging. Colorado Energy Office’s grant program will require that stations be designed for future expansion in terms of number of stations and charging capacity,” a CEO spokesperson told HWT. “As battery ranges increase, charging technology will adapt. It’s likely future charging station expansions will accommodate some medium-duty vehicles. 

“Charging requirements for buses are significantly greater though,” the representative continued. “As part of the State’s VW Plan, awards for electric buses will also include funding for dedicated charging stations.”

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.

The plan details a series of actions supporting EV infrastructure along Colorado’s corridors. It also lays out goals to accelerate adoption of EVs and ensure Colorado remains a leader in the EV market.

Colorado EV Plan 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.

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.

California remains the most ambitious state yet for EV adoption. Governor Jerry Brown recently announced plans backed by executive orders to have 5 million EVs on the road there by 2030, a vast increase over his prior goal of 1.5 million emission-free vehicles by 2025. Brown is also aiming for 250,000 EV charging stations and 200 hydrogen stations by 2030.

“These chargers are designed for light-duty vehicles and will not be capable of charging medium and heavy-duty trucks and vans,” a spokesperson with the Colorado Energy Office told HWT. “The VW settlement only allows for light-duty vehicles as a condition of the settlement.”

Please note: In an earlier version of this story, CEO had stated that the chargers would be available only for light-duty vehicles. The agency has since issued another statement speaking to the possibility of medium-duty charging.