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‘EVs poised to take over the highway’

Laurie Dickson

It’s National Drive Electric Week and there are many reasons to celebrate! By now, you have heard the buzz about electric vehicles (EVs) and charging stations in Colorado. Or maybe you have seen charging stations at your corner store, the library or your workplace. Charging stations and electric vehicles are becoming a common sight and popping up all around the region.

Why buy an EV?

EVs reduce tailpipe emissions, which translates to cleaner, healthier air quality. Transportation is approximately 27% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and a major cause of the warming planet. An argument against EVs is that you still have to charge from the electric grid that uses fossil fuels to supply the power. True. However, the tailpipe emissions saved is far greater than the electricity needed to charge an EV.

Switching each gas-powered vehicle in Colorado to electric reduces carbon emissions by approximately 6,181 tons of CO2 per vehicle annually. As the electric utility grid moves toward cleaner, renewable energy, this further increases the reduction in GHG emissions.

Range anxiety

One of the first concerns is how far an EV will go on a charge. EV battery range is increasing and most all-electric vehicles have a range between 240 to 300-plus miles. Rarely will you be on a trip where you don’t make a pit stop after driving for four hours. The average number of miles driven per day in the U.S. is about 40. This means most people will have a week of driving to work without having to charge.

Charging station availability

The number of charging stations is increasing daily. It’s easy to drive from Cortez to Denver with one fast charge stop (DCFC), which would take approximately 20 minutes, depending on the battery size of the EV and percent of charged battery remaining. Lower-range batteries would require two stops at a DCFC station. There are 3,582 public Level 2 charging stations and 695 DC Fast Charge stations online in Colorado.

Numerous apps show where all the charging stations are located in Colorado and the world. Charging EVs at home is the most common charging place. It can be done at night when the electric utility rates are lowest. La Plata Electric and Empire Electric both offer rebates for home charging station installations. EV charging costs roughly half the price of powering a standard gasoline vehicle for driving the same distance.

Cost of EVs

Extensive data show the cost and maintenance of EVs. EVs cost a little more upfront and in vehicle registration, but there are savings in maintenance, fuel and operations. There are no oil changes, no belts and transmission. A recent study compared EV models to the gas-powered equivalent and the savings in gas is as much as $1,700 per year. According to AAA, that same EV will cost $330 less per year in maintenance.

EV adoption is one of the many solutions needed to address the climate crisis by reducing carbon emissions. Explore the options for new and used EVs, see the dozens of sedans, AWD and trucks with towing capacity that are available. EVs are poised to take over the highway and an EV just might be your next vehicle purchase.

Laurie Dickson is the executive director of 4CORE (Four Corners Office for Resource Efficiency). Find out more about EVs at the National Drive Electric EV Ride and Drive event on Sat. Sept 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cortez Welcome Center.