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New fast chargers in our area

New fast chargers in our area

The daisy-chain of high-speed chargers planned for the US-285/US-160 corridor between Cortez and Denver is finally springing to life. Pagosa Springs (445 Pagosa St.) has a new fast charger with CHAdeMO and CCS/SAE connectors (adaptor required for Tesla). The new chargers are right downtown, overlooking the river, next to the existing level II chargers. There are two stations, each with both types of connector; if both connectors for a given station are in use, each connector will deliver 62.5 kW, but a single user will receive 125 kW. The full amount will charge most pure electric vehicles to 80% of full charge in 30-50 minutes.

Next in line is Durango, where a similar Charge Point fast-charging station is planned for early 2021 at the transit center (250 W. 8th St.). Further west there are existing fast chargers in Bluff UT and Monticello UT; further north there are similar but slightly slower (62.5 kW) chargers in Lake City CO and Creede CO. The Tesla Superchargers (150 kW) in our area are in Farmington NM (4200 Sierra Vista Dr.) and Blanding UT (12 N. Grayson Parkway).

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Reminder to EV owners in the LPEA service area (La Plata and Archuleta Counties, Colorado)

On 1 July LPEA initiated a “demand charge” for residential electricity users. The point of the new charge is to “bend the curve” of electrical demand down at the time of day when high use is straining the capacity of the grid. EV owners are exceptionally well placed to assist in this endeavor, because most can automatically shift their charging time away from the peak demand period (4-9 PM) until later at night, when surplus electricity is available. Regardless of the new charge on our electric bills, this is a great idea, as shifting EV charging to times of power surplus will reduce the need to build more power plants. In most cases, this will not inconvenience EV users in the slightest; on the rare occasions when it might (you need to drive again in the evening after arriving home with a dead battery), tap the “override” button on your car’s charging display when you plug it in, and it will charge immediately.

The charge works as follows: LPEA calculates which single hour of a billing month you used the most electricity between 4 and 9 PM. It then charges you a high rate ($1.50/kwh) for that hour. Note that LPEA’s power supplier (LPEA has an electricity bill to pay too, for purchasing bulk electricity from Tri-State) charges 460 times more for the one hour of highest usage per month than it does for power used at other times. LPEA is passing a tiny fraction of this surcharge along to the consumer in an effort to nudge residential customers into shifting their usage to other times of day (https:\\lpea.coop/rates#collapse-accordion-173-4). Note that this extra charge does not apply to residential users that have already adopted time-of-use billing. Most EV users that do not have their own generation (e.g., photovoltaic [PV] panels) are likely to benefit from time-of-use billing. Most residents with PV panels with not benefit from time-of-use billing.

To automate your car’s charging schedule, open the charging options screen on your car’s dash and set the hours of 4-9 PM to be a “peak electricity” billing time, set the charging schedule to prioritize charging during off-peak hours, and then set the other options to ensure that your car will be charged by the time you are likely to next need it (typically 7 or 8 AM). All EVs have some menu choice to easily override this charging block-out, on specific occasions when overriding is desired. For example, on my Volt, a window pops up when I open the charging port, and the button across the bottom of the screen allows me to “override this time.” EV owners’ ability to shift electrical use to non-peak hours is one of the primary reasons why electric utilities love EVs.

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Colorado’s New EV Plan

Colorado rolled out their 2020 EV plan on Earth Day! A lot has happened since the state’s first EV Plan came out in 2018. According to the Colorado Energy Office:

  • The number of EVs registered in Colorado more than doubled from 11,238 in August 2017 to over 24,000 in June 2019,
  • Awarded a contract to ChargePoint for the build-out of EV fast-charging stations at 33 sites along Colorado’s major transportation corridors.
    • We’re still waiting for the SW Colorado fast chargers planned under this award to be installed in Cortez, Durango, Silverton and Pagosa Springs. I’m told they should be in by this summer, but Covid19 may have further stalled progress.
  • Adoption of a zero emission vehicle (ZEV) standard in August 2019.

I haven’t had a chance to read the plan yet, but you can find Colorado’s 2020 EV Plan here. The vision for the Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan 2020 is:

Large-scale transition of Colorado’s transportation system to zero emission vehicles, with a long-term goal of 100% of light-duty vehicles being electric and 100% of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles being zero emission. 

Colorado EV 2020 webpage

This will be accomplished by taking actions to meet five goals: 

  • 1) Increasing the number of light-duty EVs to 940,000 by 2030
  • 2) Developing plans for transitioning medium-duty (MDV), heavy-duty (HDV) and transit vehicles to ZEVs
  • 3) Developing an EV infrastructure goal by undertaking a gap analysis to identify the type and number of charging stations needed across the state to meet 2030 light-duty vehicle (LDV), MDV and HDV goals
  • 4) State government agencies meeting directives and goals related to EVs from the updated Greening State Government Executive Order
  • 5) Developing a roadmap to full electrification of the light-duty vehicle fleet in Colorado

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April DEVC Newsletter – with CO Legislative Updates

A gathering of Teslas in Durango, CO

I hope everyone is weathering the Covid 19 shutdowns well, and if you’re able, helping those who aren’t in whatever ways you can. It’s saddening to see how many workers deemed essential to our economy are the same workers who have no or limited health insurance and paid sick leave. It’s my hope that when this time of crisis is over, we re-evaluate how we value and reward people’s work, whether it’s a migrant farm worker picking our fruits and vegetables in the field, the person behind the cash register or stocking the shelves at our grocery stores and pharmacies, people who give care and comfort to our elderly and children, or the janitorial and cleaning staff that keep our public buildings and medical centers clean and sanitary.

One thing remaining consistent this month is the arrival of the Denver Electric Vehicle Council’s newsletter. It includes a section on Colorado Legislative Update related to EVs which I greatly appreciate for letting me know when to make my voice heard in the statehouse on EV-related issues. I also enjoy reading about what other EV groups and related businesses are doing in other parts of the state.

In this issue, David at DEVC asks if it’s time to retire the newsletter. I hope it continues in some form. I like the pdf format as a document I can scan over and read the items that catch my eye. Please take a minute to look this one over and email David your feedback on if and how you’d like him to continue the newsletter. You can also leave a comment on this post if that’s easier. I’ll make sure David gets your feedback.

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CO Legislators Need to Hear From You Today, Sunday 3/8/20, or Monday morning – And Insight from CO Senators Against the EV Bill.

Happy Rural Colorado EV Drivers in Durango, CO

Two bills to speak up on here. Sorry for the late notice! One is HB 20-1155, which requires home builders to offer buyers of newly constructed homes options to install electric wiring for EV chargers and solar. No one is making anyone actually DO anything – just making sure buyers of new homes are reminded to consider if they want these facilities at the moment when it would be easiest to add the wiring to their homes. Write to your State Representative in this case – You can find them at: https://leg.colorado.gov/findmylegislator

The second is SB20-167, which creates a new exception that allows the ownership, operation, or control of a motor vehicle dealer if the manufacturer makes only electric motor vehicles and has no franchised dealers of the dealer’s line-make. This exception should appease Senators, such as the one quoted below, that this bill won’t hurt existing car dealers. Both bills are described in the pdf below. This bill is now headed to the House. See Bob Andersen’s comment below for who to contact.

After I wrote my State Senator, Don Coram of CO senate district 6, I got the response below from Senator Ray Scott, of senate district 7, which covers Mesa County, CO. I assume it also reflects Mr. Coram’s views, because he didn’t respond to me independently.

A main reason why I believe this bill is unnecessary is that Tesla, with a Colorado dealers license, has done just fine. I do believe there is a future for electric vehicles in certain markets, but they leave much to be desired for rural consumers and commercial applications. With so many current dealers already selling electric vehicles I see no need to destroy the current franchise agreements. That being said, the way that SB20-167 is currently written, I do not believe it would be in the best interest of the motoring public. 

Ray Scott, Colorado Senator SD 7

Even if you don’t make the deadline to comment on the bills above, it would be worth contacting your rural Colorado senator to let them know you are a rural consumer, their constituent, and that an electric vehicle meets your needs well and you’d appreciate more EV choices from dealers and local support for charging infrastructure. Unless you drive a Tesla with their distinctive look, most people and senators probably don’t even recognize your car as an EV. They likely are not aware of how many EV drivers reside in their districts.

Contact Senators Don Coram at don.coram.senate@state.co.us and Ray Scott at scottforcolorado@gmail.com. Write them both since they seem to be voting as a block on this one.

Thanks go again to J. David McNeil of the Denver Electric Vehicle Council for keeping an eye on the Colorado state legislature!

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CO Event- GHG Emissions Road Map & Transportation Electrification

From the folks at 4CORE: Will Toor, the Director of the Colorado Energy Office. Weds. March 11th at La Plata County Administration Building from 1:30- 4pm. A Ride and Drive will be happening simultaneously in the parking lot from 2-3:30pm…it’s all free!

EV owners are welcome to come to the Ride and Drive, they just can’t take participants for a test drive. We should have both a new Leaf and a Bolt at the event.

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EV Direct to Customer Sales in CO, SB20-167, Comment TODAY, or tomorrow morning :-)

Your comment to your state senator (For those in SW Colorado, our state senator is Don Coram, and you can email him at: don.coram.senate@state.co.us) IS NEEDED BEFORE 10 AM tomorrow (Monday, February 24). Mr. Coram has voted against state EV legislation in the past. Please send him a note to let him know you’re his constituent and your views on bill SB20-167.

Want some pros & cons on this bill? See https://coloradosun.com/2020/02/17/electric-vehicle-makers-direct-sales-colorado-bill/

This just in from Denver Electric Vehicle Counsel:

This is an update on the progress of the above bill, “Electric Motor Vehicle Manufacturer & Dealer” – Concerning increasing consumer access to electric motor vehicles by allowing manufacturers to sell their own electric motor vehicles directly to consumers.
The Senate Transportation & Energy hearing was held on this bill on Tuesday the 18th. There were about 30 individuals testifying, at 3 minutes each, with a split of about 50/50 “For” and “Against”, which lasted over 2 hours. The Committee voted to send it unamended to the Committee of the Whole (the Senate Floor) by a vote of 3 to 2.

On Friday the 21st it was on the Senate Floor for the Second Reading, with the debate lasting for about an hour. The bill was amended and you can see the text of the bill at https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2020A/bills/2020a_167_eng.pdf with the amendment double underlined on page 2. The Senate vote was very close at this Second Reading.

The Third Reading of this bill will be TOMORROW at 10:00 AM where it will pass or fail. If you would like to state your view of “For” or “Against” to your Senator, you should do it now, well before 10:00 AM tomorrow. You can find your Senator at https://leg.colorado.gov/findmylegislator and follow the directions.

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Novel Colorado legislation would allow direct-to-consumer sales of BEVs

Tesla is already doing this, but apparently there is a general prohibition against direct-to-consumer sales of cars that new Colorado legislation would alleviate, but only for BEVs. This may be a response to recent opposition of the car dealers (and support by the car manufacturers) to Colorado’s Zero-emission Vehicle standard. Here’s the message we got today from the Denver EV group:

Last Thursday Senate Bill SB20-167 was introduced and assigned to the Senate Transportation & Energy Committee. The bill is titled: “Electric Motor Vehicle Manufacturer & Dealer” – Concerning increasing consumer access to electric motor vehicles by allowing manufacturers to sell their own electric motor vehicles directly to consumers.

The bill Summary is as follows: “Current law states that, with certain exceptions, a motor vehicle manufacturer may not own, operate, or control any motor vehicle dealer or used motor vehicle dealer in Colorado. The bill creates a new exception that allows the ownership, operation, or control of a motor vehicle dealer that sells electric motor vehicles of a manufacturer’s line-make. An “electric motor vehicle” is a motor vehicle that can operate entirely on electrical power.”

The hearing for this bill will be this Tuesday (2-18) at 2:00 PM in the Old Supreme Court Chambers at the State Capitol. If you can’t testify in person and would like to share your views with the Committee, you may email the five committee members. They are:
Senator Faith Winter, Chair faith.winter.senate@state.co.us
Senator Kerry Donovan, Vice Chair kerry.donovan.senate@state.co.us
Senator Mike Foote mike.foote.senate@state.co.us
Senator Dennis Hisey dennis.hisey.senate@state.co.us
Senator Ray Scott ray.scott.senate@state.co.us

As a courtesy to the committee members, you may want to put “SB20-167 For” or “SB20-167 Against” in the Subject line. Also include a brief reason for your view in the text of the email. This legislation might be especially germane to the Four Corners insofar as so few dealers in the Four Corners are supporting EVs.

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Montezuma County, CO goes EV x 3!

County Administrator Shak Powers and Commissioner Jim Candelaria show off one of three Chevy Bolt electric vehicles the county purchased for Social Services, IT and Health Departments
Photo by Jim Mimiaga/The Journal

Check out this article at the Durango Herald! Montezuma County purchases three electric vehicles. Why would a small, rural county in the Four Corners choose EVs? Read the article to find out. Better yet, send the link to your county’s administrator. “Efficiency, cost savings cited”

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