Colorado adds medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to its electrification plans

Governments around the world are pursuing policies to speed up EV adoption, but most are piecemeal—a purchase incentive here, an investment in EVSE there. California and the UK are among the few entities that are developing comprehensive plans to electrify all forms of transport.

The Centennial State is moving closer to that ideal, and is trying not to let the COVID-19 crisis derail its electrification plans, as Moe Clark And Tamara Chuang report in The Colorado Sun.

The Colorado Energy Office recently introduced its updated 2020 Electric Vehicle Plan, which for the first time describes the electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The plan also reiterates the goal of increasing the number of EVs in state fleets, and the objective of having 940,000 EVs on Colorado roads by 2030.

“This plan is the first time Colorado has set a goal to transition all vehicles to clean, zero-pollution energy,” Travis Madsen, Transportation Program Director for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, told the Sun.

“To date, the work in Colorado has primarily focused on light-duty vehicles,” said Will Toor, Executive Director of the Colorado Energy Office. However, thanks to funds from the Volkswagen settlement, the state has made progress in “electrifying transit fleets and other heavy-duty fleets and [deploying] 1,000 electric buses by 2030.” He said state officials hope to have a plan in place by July 2021, with the goal of electrifying all heavy-duty vehicles by 2050.

Colorado has advanced several EV-friendly policies over the past couple of years: last August, it adopted California’s zero-emissions vehicle mandate; in March, it clarified that EV-makers would be allowed to sell directly to consumers, a boon for Tesla and Rivian. More clean transportation bills are in the pipeline, including one that would establish a petroleum redevelopment fund and another that would mandate a blend of biodiesel. However, these are in legislative limbo at the moment because of the ongoing public health crisis.

“Unfortunately, we just don’t have certainty right now,” said Samantha Lichtin, Legislative Liaison for the Colorado Energy Office. “This legislative session may not accomplish all of the pieces that individuals have been working hard on,” Lichtin said. “We’re looking forward to next year’s session and having a full plate of electrification work.”

“As with every issue that the state is addressing right now, I think we need to acknowledge the enormous uncertainty in the state fiscal situation,” said Will Toor. “Given the uncertainty surrounding the impacts of the pandemic and the budget impacts, it’s possible that there will be impacts to those dates going forward, but we will be doing our best to meet the timelines that have been identified in support of our broader goals.”

Source: The Colorado Sun