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Study Recommends Colorado Expand Its Fleet of Electric Vehicles

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Electric car charging stationA public interest group that promotes energy efficiency in the southwestern U.S. is calling for Colorado’s policymakers to add more electric vehicles to the state’s light-duty fleet, according to a Tuesday press release. In its new report, “Transportation Fuels for Colorado’s Future,” the group, the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), writes that electricity will be “by far” the cleanest fuel for cars by 2020.

The statement quotes Mike Salisbury, the report’s author and a SWEEP transportation research associate:

In terms of energy efficiency and emissions, gasoline, electric and CNG vehicles each perform best on certain metrics in 2013. However, as existing state policies improve the electric grid, the plug-in electric vehicle is going to accelerate past gasoline and CNG as the cleanest car in just a short period of time.

SWEEP — which is dedicated to advancing energy efficiency in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming — produced the report to fill the gaps in other recent clean-vehicle research and to help inform policymakers. To arrive at their conclusions, researchers analyzed energy use and emissions for a vehicle’s lifecycle — from when it was first manufactured to the time it was disposed of — and also emissions related to driving.

The report says that cleaner and more efficient electricity will be available for vehicles because of laws in place in Colorado since 2010 that are designed to reduce air pollution from electricity generation from older coal-fired plants, and requiring utilities to provide between 10% and 30% of power from renewable sources.

The state will be required to comply with stringent new smog standards that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue next year, the report notes. Because electric vehicles “will have significantly lower emissions of smog precursors than the other two fuel types” they can help Colorado meet the higher standards, SWEEP says.

As this blog reported last November, Coloradans rank among the top buyers of electric vehicles, according to Edmunds.com, and you can see a map of electric vehicle charging stations in Colorado here.

In a related news item, the Northern Colorado Business Report writes that a “Drive Electric Northern Colorado” event at 9 a.m. on Monday, February 25, will showcase the state’s first “fast charger” for electric vehicles. The event, to take place at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, is being sponsored by The Electrification Coalition and the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland, plus CSU.

The partners will announce an initiative to establish an “electric vehicle deployment community” which will be eligible for temporary incentives as a first step in getting people beyond early adopters interested in using electric vehicles. The event will feature demonstrations of electric vehicles and testimonials.

The U.S. Department of Energy offers a “Plug-In Electric Vehicle Readiness Scorecard” to help communities determine how ready they are for electric vehicles and related equipment: https://www.afdc.energy.gov/pev-readiness.

Image by bradleygee (Bradley Gordon).

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