Feds approve state plan unlocking $57 million in federal funds for EV charging

Matt Whittaker

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An electric-car charging station with a car plugged in.Ivan Radic / Flickr

By Matt Whittaker / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) The U.S. Department of Transportation gave the green light to a Colorado plan for a statewide electric-vehicle charging network, unlocking $57 million in federal funds for the state, officials said this week.

Colorado will receive the money over the next five years to beef up charging locations along 13 transportation corridors around the state approved under the department’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program created by last year’s $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure package. 

"We are excited to invest this NEVI funding in Colorado, and we're also going to pair it with state funds so that every part of the state is eligible for EV charging money," said Kay Kelly, chief of innovative mobility for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). 

Denver-based CDOT won’t own or operate the chargers. Instead, funds will go to private, public and nonprofit entities that want to build, own, operate and maintain them. 

The NEVI program pays up to 80 percent of eligible costs for the infrastructure, and at least 40 percent is earmarked for people with disabilities, rural residents and other historically underserved communities in Colorado, CDOT said.

Colorado has about 63,927 electric vehicles registered in the state and aims to up that figure to 940,000 on the road by 2030, CDOT said.

To reach that figure, the state will need to have 24,100 public chargers by 2030 in addition to workplace and home charging stations, according to a study last year from the International Council on Clean Transportation. As of 2020, it had 2,100, the study said.

Concerns about a vehicle’s range on a single charge and a lack of charging stations are among the reasons Americans say they won’t buy electric vehicles

When it comes to commercial fleets of electric vehicles, most use their own charging stations at depots and rely only sporadically on public charging, said Nick Bettis, director of marketing and sales operations with Lightning eMotors, a Loveland-based medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicle company.

“However, in some cases fleets may require opportunity charging while in route and having a more comprehensive network of public charging available would certainly be a benefit,” he said.

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Matt Whittaker writes about natural resources industries, including oil and gas, mining, renewable energy, agriculture and cannabis. He's been based in the Denver metro area since 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @mattswhittaker.

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