Fort Collins, CO

New site lets NoCo utility customers determine electric vehicle costs

Matt Whittaker
An electric vehicle charging.Noya Fields / Flickr

By Matt Whittaker / NewsBreak Denver

(Fort Collins, Colo.) Northern Front Range utilities this week showed off a new website that lets customers research electric vehicles using local data.

A collaboration of utilities serving Fort Collins, Estes Park, Longmont and Loveland scheduled a webinar Thursday to demonstrate the website, which provides a guide for people to compare fully electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids with traditional cars. 

The site shows differences in total estimated ownership costs  based on local electric rates, fuel costs and taxes for utility customers in Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland. It also factors in retail price, federal and state incentives, maintenance, insurance and resale value.

Efficiency Works – a collaboration of common efficiency programs between the utilities of Estes Park Power and Communications, Fort Collins Utilities, Longmont Power and Communications, Loveland Water and Power and Platte River Power Authority –  launched the website.

“The new EV website is another example of our joint commitment to utility customers and will be a useful tool in evaluating the total cost of EV ownership,” said Jason Frisbie, chief executive officer with Fort Collins-based Platte River Power Authority.

Mirroring a global trend, electric vehicles are becoming more popular in Colorado. Regular drivers and municipalities in the state are plugging in.

Statewide, original registrations of light-duty electric vehicles – the number of new sales and registrations of those coming from out of state – rose to more than 17,000 so far this year from under 800 in 2012, according to Atlas Public Policy. The percentage of those original registrations belonging to electric vehicles rose to 3.55% from 0.13% over that time. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation gave the green light recently to a Colorado plan for an electric-vehicle charging network, unlocking $57 million in federal funds for the state.

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

State officials recently said six transit agencies across Colorado will receive more than $50 million in federal funds for low- and zero-emissions transportation projects, with Summit County receiving the lion’s share.

The Federal Transit Administration awards – which are part of the infrastructure bill and represent the largest ever of this type of federal funding to the state – will pay for a range of vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, electricity, diesel, and gasoline. The grants will also help construct two facilities to support the cleaner energy fleets.

Although the funding includes money for diesel- and gasoline-powered vehicles, those still save on greenhouse gas emissions because they are mass transit vehicles, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. 

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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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