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Colorado Energy Office addresses concern, hesitation surrounding electric vehicles

Colorado Energy Office addresses concern, hesitation surrounding electric vehicles
Posted at 7:23 PM, Jul 19, 2023

DENVER — Governor Jared Polis has a vision for Colorado that includes nearly one million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2030. It's part of a plan to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2040.

However, many drivers are hesitant to make the switch from gas to electric. Curtis Kuhl is one of them.

“I would be concerned about the maintenance," said Kuhl, listing off questions he has about EVs. “I don't do a lot of long-distance driving. But if I were somebody, like my one son drives around the Western Slope all the time, I can't imagine how often he'd be stopping to try and find a charge station.”

Kuhl was also concerned about how much it would cost to replace a battery in an EV.

Christian Williss, the managing director for transportation, fuels, and technology of the Colorado Energy Office, said there are currently around 86,000 EVs on Colorado roads. He said that accounts for about 1.5 percent of all vehicles in Colorado.

"But Colorado has one of the largest market shares of electric vehicles in the country at fifth of all states," Williss said. “The biggest benefit of an electric vehicle is that there are no tailpipe emissions. There's no internal combustion engine. There's no gasoline. There are no emissions.”

Williss said transportation is the largest source of emissions in Colorado and nationwide. He said the most common concern about EVs is their range.

"Most electric vehicles get between 200 and 300 miles with a full battery, with most coming in between about 250 and 300 miles... Most people drive less than 30 miles a day. And if you're able to charge at home, you plug in at night, you wake up with a full battery. So, it's very convenient to drive an electric vehicle," said Williss. "The biggest concerns are on that road trip. But there's an increasing number of high-speed charging stations along our interstates and corridors with many thousands more coming over the next decades.”

When it comes to how expensive replacing a battery is for an EV, Williss said there is not much data on that subject because it does not happen too often.

"Electric vehicles come with a very comprehensive warranty for batteries — 100,000 miles or 10 years," said Williss.

Cost is still a huge barrier for people considering an EV. Williss said the cost is starting to decrease.

"We're really excited that there are a number of electric vehicle models that are going to be introduced over the next couple of years that are less than $35,000, some less than $30,000," said Williss.

According to EV CO, all Coloradans are eligible for an EV tax credit of $5,000. Williss said the Colorado Energy Office is launching a rebate program in August for low to moderate-income Coloradans who want to replace an older vehicle with a newer EV.

Denver7 reached out to Xcel Energy about the electricity grid and how it relates to EVs. The company said the grid is "set up to handle energy use of all types."

The grid is set up to handle energy use of all types, homes, buildings, industrial use and electric vehicles – which all use the grid, generally, in the same way. We plan for changes in load on a regular basis, filing a plan, called an Electric Resource Plan, with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission every two years or so. These plans look at changes in use years in advance. The ERP tells the Commission what we anticipate in terms of growth and load changes, as well as proposes how we plan to accommodate that load. We are currently in the middle of a Resource Plan at the Commission. The Commission approved our initial plan last year, and now we are in the process of analyzing which resources will best help fill that future need. We will share that plan with Commissioners in August.

We’ve been looking at EV growth in Colorado as part of a comprehensive plan to transition the grid. As you may know, we were the first major U.S. energy company to announce carbon reduction goals (making our first announcement in 2018), and have committed to become an overall net-zero energy company by 2050, while keeping service reliable and customer bills low.
Michelle Aguayo, Xcel Energy

Xcel offers several rebates for customers interested in purchasing an EV. More information can be found here: Electric Vehicles | Our Commitment | Xcel Energy, and https://ev.xcelenergy.com..


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