The Colorado Energy Office has released the Electric Vehicle Market Implementation Study that provides recommendations to advance the growth of the electric vehicle (EV) market in Colorado. The recommendations create a framework to further develop policy, program and partnership opportunities and facilitate EV adoption in Colorado. The study was prepared by BCS, Inc., with input from the Regional Air Quality Council.
According to the study, Colorado’s current EV market is already having a net positive impact on Colorado’s environmental, energy and economic security — improving air quality and reducing energy consumption.
Analysis from the study shows that driving an EV in Colorado can reduce fuel costs by more than $1,000 per year and reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 37 percent, compared to the typical gasoline light-duty car on the road today. Taking advantage of these benefits, the Colorado market purchased 1,513 EVs in 2013, up from 795 vehicles in 2012. Three potential growth scenarios highlighted in the study indicate that future EV sales could vary significantly and possibly reach 937,216 EVs on Colorado’s roads by 2030. Whether EVs will reach this level partially depends on the continued growth of existing programs and policies the state is already pursuing.
Colorado has incorporated some of the best tax credits for EV purchases in the country, providing up to $6,000 per passenger car. However, the study recommends simplifying these tax credits, potentially by making them function as point-of-sale incentives.
The Colorado Energy Office and Regional Air Quality Council administer a grant program for EV charging stations, known as Charge Ahead Colorado which has provided funding for nearly 150 charging stations and 27 electric vehicles to date. Additionally, the state has informational resources available through www.RefuelColorado.com and Refuel Colorado Fleets (www.refuelcolorado.com/colorado-fleet-resources), which provides energy coaching services to fleets interested in incorporating alternative fuel vehicles.
The study presents a suite of recommendations that the state could pursue for further adoption of electric vehicles, including modifications to Charge Ahead Colorado to provide higher levels of funding for Level III fast chargers. The CHAdeMO and SAE Level III fast chargers can deliver 60 to 80 miles of driving range in approximately 20 minutes, increasing the range for EV drivers in need of a quick charge. In comparison, Level II chargers deliver 10-20 miles of driving range per hour and are better situated for locations where EV drivers are closer to their home chargers or where drivers are likely to spend more time. The study provides a description of well-situated locations for all types of chargers, such as recreation centers and trailheads for Level II charging.
To incentivize the expansion of Level III charging, the Colorado Energy Office and Regional Air Quality Council are announcing that they will increase funding for Level III fast chargers. Charge Ahead Colorado will now fund up to $16,000 for Level III chargers that incorporate both the CHAdeMO and SAE standards, and $13,000 for chargers that can only accommodate one of the two standards. Charge Ahead Colorado will continue to provide up to $6,260 for dual-cord Level II chargers and up to $3,260 for single-cord Level II chargers. The next opportunity for charging station grant funding closes on March 9, 2015. Program and application details can be found here.