COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife will install at least 20 electric vehicle chargers at state parks by the end of the summer, Gov. Jared Polis announced on Friday morning.
As part of that goal, Polis, along with the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Rivian, unveiled two Rivian Waypoints Level 2 electric vehicle chargers that were recently installed at Cheyenne Mountain State Park.
Rivian is an EV manufacturer who has committed to installing at least two open-network chargers at more than 50 Colorado state parks and offices. This came in the wake of the March 2021 announcement of a partnership between CPW and Rivian to build the charging infrastructure in all of Colorado's state parks.
The chargers can add up to 25 miles of driving for each hour they are plugged in.
Trent Warnke, senior director of energy and charging solutions at Rivian, said the chargers are "suitable for all EV-driving adventurers."
By the end of the summer, Rivian and CPW plan to install at least 20 of the chargers at state parks and offices, including the the CPW Southeast Region Office, Lake Pueblo and John Martin, the Denver metro area offices, Barr Lake, Chatfield, Castlewood Canyon, North Sterling and parks on the western slope. So far, CPW has installed the chargers at a few Front Range parks, including St. Vrain State Park and Staunton State Park.
This is another milestone in the Polis administration's commitment to put about 1 million EVs on the roads by 2030. After Polis took office in 2019, he signed an executive order to establish a Zero Emission Vehicle Program, which would bring more EV makes and models to Colorado. The following year, his office released the Colorado EV Plan, which set goals to put 940,000 light-duty EVs and at least 1,000 zero-emission transit buses on the roads by 2030. In the past few years, the state has also worked to distribute funds for 1,500 stations across the state at workplaces, hotels, multi-family housing and other facilities. In addition, the state has installed fast-charging stations at 20 places along interstates and major highways, with another 14 opening by the end of 2022.
These plans will continue to expand under a bipartisan transportation legislation that became law in June 2021, which will provide more than $170 million over the next 10 years to support transportation electrification.
Colorado saw record-breaking EV sales in 2021, according to Atlas Public Policy, and recent monthly sales have almost the tripled levels from before March 2020. As EVs grow in popularity, the need for a place to charge will also increase, Polis said.
“We are committed to delivering cleaner air and driving eco-friendly tourism to preserve and protect our amazing public lands," Polis said. "Thanks to the incredible collaboration between the Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Parks and Wildlife with Colorado Energy Office, and Rivian, Colorado is on the fast track to delivering a comprehensive EV-charging infrastructure that meets the needs of drivers today and tomorrow.”
Will Toor, executive director of the Colorado Energy Office, said more than 50,000 Coloradans currently drive an EV.
“The cost of fueling an EV is the equivalent of paying only a dollar a gallon for gas, and the Polis administration is committed to saving Coloradans money at the fuel pump by accelerating the transition to electric cars, trucks and buses across the state,” he said.
At the national level, President Joe Biden and the White House released a plan to make half of the cars in the country electric by 2030. Like Colorado's plans, theirs also centers around adding more public charging areas. The Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation has formed a task force to investigate how to build more charging stations in rural, disadvantaged and harder-to-reach locations.
The federal government plans to publish guidance for states and cities on building electric car charging networks this year.
If you're thinking of purchasing an electric vehicle, you may get a helping hand: With 2021's infrastructure bill, tax credits that had expired have now been renewed for most hybrid and electric vehicles. If you check the site FuelEconomy.gov, you'll see you can get:
- A $7,500 credit on a Jeep Plug in hybrid, Hyundai Ioniq, Mustang Mach-E, and Nissan Leaf, among others
- A $4,500 on a Prius plug-in hybrid