New report underpins critical need for charging infrastructure investment to meet Colorado’s EV and GHG pollution reduction goals

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DENVER - Tues., April 27, 2021 - A new International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) report━Colorado charging infrastructure needs to reach electric vehicle goals━analyzes the number, type, distribution and cost of chargers needed to meet Colorado’s electric vehicle (EV) and greenhouse gas (GHG)pollution reduction goals. Working as directed by the Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan 2020, the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) selected ICCT for the analysis to inform state decisions on EV infrastructure planning and investment.

The ICCT working paper quantifies EV infrastructure at the county level across the state needed to meet the 2030 goal of 940,000 light duty EVs in Colorado with a focus on public, workplace and home charging for light-duty passenger cars and trucks. The analysis estimates costs to meet these infrastructure needs and assesses the electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles such as larger vans, delivery trucks and transit buses. The report also discusses the changing role of policy support for charging infrastructure investments through 2030.

Key findings from the report include:

  • At least $860 million of charging investment by individuals, the private sector, utilities and government is needed to meet Colorado’s 2030 light-duty goal of 940,000 EVs on the road
  • At least $364 million of charging investment is needed to support 2030 truck and bus electrification goals 
  • Home charging including single and multi-family housing options is needed to improve the accessibility of EVs for all prospective drivers
  • A county by county forecast of charging infrastructure needs
  • Energy demand projections needed to meet the 2030 EV goal

The state provides several programs to support charging infrastructure including Charge Ahead Colorado (CAC), a grant program jointly administered by CEO and the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC). Since the CAC program’s inception in 2013, CEO has funded 480 charging stations across the state, and RAQC has funded 682 charging stations in the Denver Metro area. In 2018, CEO awarded ChargePoint a $10.3 million grant to install high-speed charging stations at 34 locations along interstate, state and US highways. In 2020, CEO launched a grant program for high-speed charging plazas in and around the metro area.

Xcel Energy filed its first three-year Transportation Electrification Plan (TEP) in May 2020, and the Colorado Public Utilities Commission approved a modified version in December 2020. The $110 million plan outlines a suite of EV programs to help the utility’s residential and business customers overcome cost barriers to EV adoption and increase awareness of EV benefits.

“While state programs like Charge Ahead Colorado to help fund charging stations and Xcel’s TEP are important down payments, significant investment is needed to meet Colorado’s GHG pollution reduction goals,” said CEO Executive Director Will Toor. “This ICCT analysis shows us the magnitude of investment required━more than $1.2 billion is needed to meet the state’s 2030 goals for electric cars, trucks and buses. We’ve made a lot of meaningful progress, but we only move forward from here at the scale required with continued policy support for charging infrastructure investment.”

Legislative action is taking place at both national and state levels as federal lawmakers consider The American Jobs Plan, which includes $174 billion in support for transportation electrification, and the Colorado General Assembly discusses transportation funding that could include significant investment in EV infrastructure and programs.

Governor Polis is acting to address Colorado’s climate crisis through a bold vision to get to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040 and meet the science-based targets for reducing GHG pollution. Several state agencies including CEO are working together to deliver on the goals of this vision through the Colorado GHG Pollution Reduction Roadmap. The Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan 2020 includes near-term program and funding actions such as both direct public investment and grants which incentivize and promote the electrification of the transportation sector. 

Authored by Chih-Wei Hsu, Peter Slowik and Nic Lutsey, the ICCT report is available here