COLORADO SPRINGS — The addition of two rapid electric vehicle chargers in downtown Colorado Springs begin a new push from the city to prepare for a wave of zero-emission cars to hit the roads.
“This is clearly the trend of the future,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said. “The marketplace is going to dictate that.”
The rapid chargers located in the parking garage near the Pioneers Museum can completely charge a car in 30 minutes, rather than hours.
Suthers and Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Aram Benyamin point to multiple carmakers releasing plans to make more of their fleets made up of electric vehicles. The supply of EVs is met with a projected demand from customers in Colorado Springs.
Currently, there are around 2,000-2,500 electric vehicles in the city. By 2030, conservative estimates project 90,000 EVs.
“We want to make sure that the infrastructure supports them rather than them figuring out where to go charge some we’re going to see a lot of charges in our infrastructure,” Benyamin said.
The infrastructure means a massive expansion of electric vehicle chargers in Colorado Springs. CSU and the City will replace the around 100 charges that are currently installed with the new, rapid charges, like what were unveiled Thursday. Then, 7,000 charges will be added to the city in order to keep up with the people buying the cars.
On CSU’s end, Benyamin sees no problem with the utility keeping up with electricity demand, even as CSU is under state mandate to generate more of its electricity from renewable sources.
Benyamin does say, however, that he could imagine incentivizing EV charging with discounted rates during non-peak times of the day, where electricity demand is generally low. Benyamin says, combined with lower maintenance costs of EVs, it makes the cheap cars even cheaper.
“It’s a $1 per gallon equivalent on how much someone can travel on an electric vehicle versus a gas vehicle,” Benyamin.
The two charges installed this week cost $180,000 with a $35,000 grant from Charge Ahead Colorado.
Both men says the expansion of the rapid charging stations will be good for citizens, but also for the economy and people coming to Colorado Springs. The addition of the chargers will put Colorado Springs on the map for EV road trips.
“The conversion to electric vehicles will really help us improve the quality of the air from a health perspective and a tourism perspective, things like that,” Suthers said. “It will be a big benefit.”