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State lawmakers pushing legislation to make electric vehicle dream come true

Posted at 9:55 PM, Mar 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 00:22:48-05

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DENVER — State lawmakers are hoping to pass legislation to encourage people to get behind the wheel of a green car. Two bills incentivize drivers with money for more charging stations and access to express lanes, hoping to steer away from smog and move more towards renewable energy.

The Electric Vehicle Grant Fund that made its way through the first committee Monday would use more money to build additional charging stations all over the state, starting with rural locations.

Some drivers and lawmakers said electric cars are key to cleaner air, addressing climate change and saving money in Colorado. But range anxiety might keep people from buying electric vehicles, like motorist Patrick Smith.

“They’re good cars. A little expensive, but overall you got to go slowly, get away from fossil fuels if we can. So that’s my opinion,” said Smith. “I would if there were more charging stations. That’s the biggest problem.”

The Electric Vehicle Grant Fund will allocate more money to build charging stations all over the state, especially rural areas and along I-25 and I-70. Jacob Smith with Colorado Committees for Climate Action, a supporter of the bill, said range anxiety is the biggest obstacle and what it hopes to legislation will eliminate.

“Everybody across Colorado has access to that infrastructure, the charging stations so that they can choose if they want to drive EVs,” said Smith.

Also proposed is the Colorado Clean Pass Act, that would give electric car drivers free access to express lanes and reduced toll lanes after a registration fee.

Prius driver Marisol Ruiz likeS the sound of that.

“That makes me feel good. That means I’m going to save even more money. We can all save money especially here in Colorado,” said Ruiz.

But not everyone is onboard, like Tim Jackson with the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association. He said there’s not enough consumer pull to favor electric vehicle drivers.

“This is intended to push people into the kind of vehicles the State of Colorado had determined they want people to buy,” said Jackson. “Some consumers are making a calculated choice to buy family size vehicles and need range. They don’t want to be on the way to Vail or Breckenridge and be stuck in five hours of traffic.”

But one of the bill’s sponsors, State Rep. Alex Valdez, hopes this will happen if we want to move towards a low-carbon clean energy future.

“So it’s very exciting. We are going to see a lot of auto manufacturers moving to electrified transit, and this is just one more reason for Colorado families to choose this,” said Valdez.