Feb 25, 2022 - News

How Colorado's EV charging network could expand

Free electric vehicle charging stations in Denver
Data: U.S. Department of Energy; Map: Axios Visuals

The Biden administration kicked off a $5 billion program this month to expand electric vehicle charging networks nationwide.

Why it matters: Gov. Jared Polis launched an ambitious goal of putting nearly 1 million electric vehicles on roads across the state by 2030.

  • Making that leap from the 49,000 currently on highways in a mere eight years — if it's even possible — will require more than a few new charging stations.

Driving the news: U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stopped by the Denver Housing Authority’s Mariposa Apartments on Thursday to tout local investments in EV infrastructure, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

  • Mariposa Apartments was one of six under-resourced communities to receive a slice of the $300,000 in federal CARES Act funding that Denver officials allocated to provide seven electric carshare vehicles and charging infrastructure in the area.
  • Buttigieg's Denver stop is part of his statewide tour to address some of Colorado's infrastructure challenges, including in fire-stricken Glenwood Springs.

What they're saying: States will have the ultimate say in where the new infrastructure should be, Buttigieg tells Alayna.

  • Where charging stations are placed will be "up to the governor's leadership," he adds. "We're not going to sit in Washington and pick and choose and command and control where all the dollars go … We're going to ask the states to come to us with a plan."

Zoom in: There are 206 EV charging stations within a 5-mile radius of the city’s center, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy.

  • Within city limits, 32 are free to use.

The big picture: Electric vehicle sales soared by 81% in 2021 compared to the previous year, with 11,420 new EVs registered, according to a recent report from the Colorado Automobile Dealers' Association.

  • Electric vehicle sales made up nearly 9% of total car sales globally in 2021, but they are predicted to account for as much as 30% of the sales by 2025.

What's next: An initial $615 million will be available to states in fiscal year 2022 as part of the Biden administration's bipartisan infrastructure law, Axios' Ben Geman reports. Colorado has until Aug. 1 to apply.

  • Mayor Michael Hancock tells Axios Denver that his administration will soon require charging stations in existing multi-family developments that are upgrading their facilities, in addition to already mandating EV outlets in new multi-family projects.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard. Subscribe here.

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