COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) – The Federal Highway Administration announced this week that it will allocate $57 million to Colorado to build more fast chargers and electric vehicle charging stations.
“Colorado is a leader in this area,” said Kay Kelly, chief of innovative mobility for the Colorado Department of Transportation. “In 2019, we had almost 60,000 electric vehicles registered and that was the sixth in the country.”
The money, to be distributed over the next five years, will increase the state’s share of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Corridor System by 44%, from 2,193 miles of roads to 3,164 miles, and will cover 80% of the charging infrastructure costs.
According to a statement from CDOT, charging stations must be built within one mile of the National Corridor – which includes Interstate 25, US 50 and US 160 in southern Colorado – and there cannot be more than 50 miles apart between stations.
Interestingly, US 24 is not part of the National Corridor but CDOT expects it will eventually be included.
According to CDOT, Colorado Springs has nine Chargers, Pueblo has three, and Fountain has one.
Colorado has seven existing corridors and will add six more under the new funding, primarily in Denver areas.
Filling system gaps is especially difficult in largely rural southern Colorado, with only a few charging stations south of Pueblo between the Kansas and New Mexico lines, or west between Pueblo and Salida.
La Junta, Limon, Trinidad and Alamosa are the only small communities in the region known to have charging stations.
Another challenge is that CDOT does not own or operate charging stations and provides funding to public, private, and non-profit organizations that want to build, own, maintain, and operate the stations.
The funding is in line with CDOT’s goal, with its partners, of having nearly one million zero-emission vehicles — including transit vehicles and medium-to-heavy-duty vehicles — by 2030.
CDOT also says that building more stations will create new jobs needed to install, maintain and operate the infrastructure.
Some of these new jobs are at the Phil Long EV Outlet in Colorado Springs, a company that sells electric vehicles and has chargers for up to ten vehicles.
“We get maybe one vehicle a day from people who want to recharge,” said store manager Robert Strange. “But that’s going to increase as gas prices continue to be high. You can start a charging station with an investment of a few thousand dollars. And we’re trying to follow states like California, which will stop charging. sell gasoline vehicles in a few years.”
CDOT spokesman Tim Hoover said the industry will grow even more as rural and small town dwellers catch electric vehicle fever.
“For example, there’s a three-year waiting list for the Ford F-150 Lightning,” he said. “And more makes and models are on the way. People in these areas are finding that ERV trucks can accelerate quickly and have enough power to haul things, pull things, and perform the other tasks they would do with vehicles. petrol.”
CDOT is currently working on a plan to expand the state’s electric vehicle network and is seeking public comment through Friday. For more information, visit: [email protected]