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Gov. wants to build extensive EV charging infrastructure, but gas still rules the road in Colorado

Posted at 7:10 PM, Feb 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 01:07:27-05

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DENVER — Gov. John Hickenlooper wants to build an extensive system of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles despite the fact the EVs make up only about one percent of vehicles currently sold in Colorado, according to the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association.

The plan calls for public-private partnerships to build the state's electric vehicle charging infrastructure, providing a consistent refueling system across the state and Rocky Mountain West and building new relationships to bolster investment.

But much of this becomes the age-old metaphor of which came first, the chicken or the egg? 

Potential electric car owners will want chargers installed before buying, and cities are hesitant to take on taxpayer-funded charging stations until they see the demand for cars on the road.

"There is a field of dreams aspect to it for sure," Chris Nelder with the Rocky Mountain Institute a non-profit working to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. "I think the thing we're most concerned about is the availability of charging stations so we really need to start building charging stations."

According to Hickenlooper, the plan would create the infrastructure needed to spur the state's electric vehicle market, which he believes is the key to economic development and cleaner air.

So, what's a city or car dealer or car shopper to do?

Nelder believes if drivers see charge stations everywhere, they won't be afraid to go electric or have "range anxiety" of running out of charge mid-trip.

However, records show there are fewer than 9,000 electric cars currently registered in Colorado. But the Governor wants more than million EV's on the road by 2030.

Denver7 Jennifer Kovalski takes a 360 ride and explores the many byways and highways of the green dream debate. Watch the story in the player above.