Colorado, other states building charging corridors to quell electric vehicle ‘range anxiety’ summitdaily.com

As part of the national Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Settlement, the state of Colorado will receive $68.7 million from the environmental mitigation trust. Funds may be used to incentivize the purchase of low-emission vehicles and transit and for development of zero-emission vehicle fueling and charging infrastructure.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment serves as the lead agency in administering Colorado’s allocation and has coordinated with the Colorado Department of Transportation and other agencies in drafting the state’s Beneficiary Mitigation Plan. Colorado’s plan proposes that 15 percent, the maximum percentage allowed under the terms of the settlement, be allocated for light duty electric vehicle charging stations.


The national settlement also requires that Volkswagen invest $2 billion over 10 years in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and education programs. Electrify America, a newly created subsidiary of Volkswagen, will administer this investment. Funds will be spent in $500 million increments over four 30-month cycles. In the first cycle, Electrify America will focus on building a long-distance network of fast-charging stations along high-traffic corridors across the country. In Colorado, stations will be built along Interstates 70, 25 and 76.

That’s why Western states are determined to follow the West Coast’s example and build the infrastructure needed to attract more converts. In October, governors from Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming signed an agreement to add high-speed charging stations to every major interstate in the region.

It’s up to each state to figure out its individual infrastructure plans. Colorado released its own plans in January, which include installing signage so that both electric vehicle and non-electric vehicle drivers become familiar with charging locations and building out fast-charging corridors.

For charging deserts such as Wyoming and Montana — which lack fast public stations — the agreement represents their first major push to create electric corridors. Tesla does have “superchargers” in both states, but they’re proprietary; only Tesla drivers can use them. And without other public stations handy, even Tesla owners can suffer range anxiety on the mountain states’ wide-open highways.

Patrick and Nora Ivers, of Laramie, Wyoming, experienced this firsthand when they ventured to Casper last fall in their Tesla S, which can travel up to 350 miles on a single charge. The 151-mile drive to Casper ate up 52 percent of their charge, leaving the Ivers to juice the battery back up at what’s called a “destination station,” a port that gives electric vehicle drivers between 2 percent and 5 percent of extra charge per hour. Several hours later, the battery had reached 62 percent; they made it home with just 11 percent to spare. Nora called it a “real nail-biting trip.”

In Montana, where electric vehicle adoption has been slower, infrastructure is seen as necessary for tourists. Chris Calwell, an electric vehicle driver from Durango, said taking his Tesla on road trips sometimes dictated where he could and could not go and forced him to take long layovers to recharge. By adding charging stations, Montana hopes to encourage more drivers like him to visit.

In some places, though, rural communities are already filling the gaps in the charging landscape. They’ve figured out that getting electric vehicle drivers to stop to recharge can be good for the local economy, luring travelers into shops and restaurants while they wait.

“If you look at the list of places that have (electric vehicle) charging stations, it is not all the super-liberal enclaves of Montana,” said Skye Borden, state director for Environment Montana, an advocacy group. “It is just a lot of communities that decided it was a good business decision.”

“As we get to see bigger and bigger batteries, and more and more charging stations, people will kind of laugh about the early days,” he speculates. “We’ll reach a point in the future when younger people will be asking, ‘So, what was a gas station like?’”

As part of the national Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Settlement, the state of Colorado will receive $68.7 million from the environmental mitigation trust. Funds may be used to incentivize the purchase of low-emission vehicles and transit and for development of zero-emission vehicle fueling and charging infrastructure.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment serves as the lead agency in administering Colorado’s allocation and has coordinated with the Colorado Department of Transportation and other agencies in drafting the state’s Beneficiary Mitigation Plan. Colorado’s plan proposes that 15 percent, the maximum percentage allowed under the terms of the settlement, be allocated for light duty electric vehicle charging stations.

The national settlement also requires that Volkswagen invest $2 billion over 10 years in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and education programs. Electrify America, a newly created subsidiary of Volkswagen, will administer this investment. Funds will be spent in $500 million increments over four 30-month cycles. In the first cycle, Electrify America will focus on building a long-distance network of fast-charging stations along high-traffic corridors across the country. In Colorado, stations will be built along Interstates 70, 25 and 76.