DENVER -- Denver residents got the opportunity to test drive electric vehicles in downtown Denver on Wednesday. The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) is encouraging people to drive electric vehicles (EVs) as part of a campaign to improve air quality and sustainability efforts within the city.
“If you are looking to save money and also reduce your vehicle emissions going electric is the way to go,” said Mike Salisbury, Transportation Energy Lead for the City & County of Denver.
Experts said this form of transportation is what the state needs for a healthier environment.
“They remove the emissions from the city where we see a lot of the build-up of ozone in the summer days especially,” said Chad King, Sustainability Director at the University of Denver.
King expects the EV market boom overseas to continue trickling over to the United States.
“I think it will just be a matter of the market shifting as the range expands, as you have more options and different levels for people to buy in,” said King.
Electric vehicle owner James Maiden uses his car to drive short distances and save money.
“It matches about 95 percent of my driving needs. Most of my drive is a pretty short haul,” said Maiden. “The five percent of the time that I might need a vehicle that needs better range all I have to do is just rent a car.”
While Maiden is a supporter and EV driver, he also believes it will take time for the industry to fully catch on in the Denver Metro.
“We have to allow some time for that to percolate,” said Maiden.
As for what's ahead, dealerships are finding ways to develop more efficient batteries and miles of range in the cars as more cities catch onto the idea of “Pass Gas, Drive Electric.”
“(We're) learning from others as we move forward with these ambitious goals of carbon reductions of over 80 percent in the coming years,” said King.
The "Pass Gas, Drive Electric" campaign highlights Colorado as the most affordable state in the country to buy an EV. Owners can qualify for up to $12,500 in tax credits toward any plug-in vehicle, and electricity costs less than half the price of gasoline.
"Pass Gas, Drive Electric" also supports commitments in Mayor Michael B. Hancock's Mobility Action Plan to raise EV awareness, and those made in DDPHE's 80x50 Climate Action Plan to increase electric vehicle usage.