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Colorado NEVI Program – All You Need To Know

May 12, 2024

The Centennial State has established itself as a national leader in electric vehicle adoption, yet its mountainous landscape and wide-ranging climate present unique infrastructure challenges on the road to transportation electrification. As Colorado works to deploy millions in new federal funding through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program, strategically closing gaps in fast charging access will be key to overcoming these hurdles according to the state’s recently updated EV plan.

Colorado FY 2024 Approved Plan

In recent years, the State of Colorado has taken active steps to increase the number and variety of EVs available on the market. In November 2018, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) adopted the Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) standard, which establishes more stringent emission
requirements for new light-duty and medium-duty motor vehicles sold in Colorado beginning with model year 2022. In August 2019, the AQCC adopted the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) standard, which requires individual automakers to make an increasing percentage of light-duty zero-emission vehicles available for sale in Colorado-at least 5 percent in model year 2023 and more than 6 percent in model year 2025.

Colorado net electricity generation by source

In April 2023, the AQCC adopted the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) and Heavy-Duty Omnibus Rule, which require automakers to meet minimum sales percentages for medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs starting in model year 2027, and also to drastically reduce NOx emissions from new heavy-duty diesel vehicles sold in Colorado. Additionally, the State published a notice of rulemaking to consider the adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) rule in July 2023. This regulation would require auto manufacturers to sell an increasing percentage of EVs over time and would require manufacturers to sell about 80% electric vehicles by 2032. State agency staff will continue to review and analyze additional regulatory tools that will help advance our EV goals as technologies and markets continue to develop.

With the highest average elevation of any state and peaks that thrust skyward over 14,000 feet, Colorado’s rugged Rockies are a hallmark of its natural beauty. However, their steep ascents and winding descents along scenic byways can also diminish battery range for EV drivers. Through the NEVI Program, Colorado aims to install new fast chargers every 50 miles along designated corridors, assuring mountain motorists can top up as needed.

In wide-open areas like the Eastern Plains where towns are fewer and farther between, long-distance travel poses a different challenge without reliable en route charging. Recognizing these circumstances especially impact smaller and rural communities, Colorado’s NEVI Plan prioritizes filling gaps in regional charging networks. By locating plugs within one mile of highway exits per NEVI standards, drivers will feel confident in reaching their destinations no matter the distance traveled across the state’svariable terrain.

Seasonal unpredictability is another factor as weather runs the gamut from blizzards and below-zero cold snaps to summer heat waves and monsoon downpours. Colorado’s framework for NEVI implementation maintains flexibility to adjust to dynamic on-the-ground needs through ongoing stakeholder input and reevaluation. This collaborative approach aims to help the state rise to meet the logistical puzzles posed by its dramatic landscape and climate as the EV market continues expanding in the years ahead.

As public fast-charging access grows under the NEVI Program, so too should driver confidence no matter the vehicle or voyage. With its proactive charging infrastructure strategy, Colorado is well-positioned to cement its role as a national leader in equitably transitioning transportation to electric.

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