Charging Smart – New Electric Vehicle Readiness Program Launches in Colorado

March 11, 2024


Drive Clean Colorado
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New Electric Vehicle Readiness Program Launches in Colorado

Pilot Program Preceding National EV Program Expansion

Denver, CO (March 12, 2024) — Drive Clean Colorado and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) today announced the launch of Charging Smart, a new designation program that awards communities for electric vehicle (EV) readiness. Charging Smart is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO). The program provides personalized, no-cost technical assistance to help municipalities set and achieve policies that facilitate the equitable expansion of EVs and EV charging infrastructure in their community.  Local governments that achieve certain metrics are awarded Bronze, Silver, or Gold designations, a public recognition of their status as an EV-friendly community.

Charging Smart is launching a pilot phase for local governments in the states of Colorado, Virginia, and the regions of North Texas and Southern California. Communities in Minnesota, Michigan, and Ohio are already engaged in a developmental phase of the program, and communities from one of these states are expected to become the first Charging Smart designated cohort later this spring. A comparable program has already launched in Northern Illinois in collaboration with Charging Smart. Charging Smart will be made available to communities throughout the U.S. in the future. 

Learn more and join the program at 

Charging Smart is led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), with Great Plains Institute (GPI) serving as lead partner on the project. Other partners include RMI, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC), Drive Clean Colorado, Long Beach Clean Cities, North Central Texas Council of Governments, and Virginia Clean Cities.

“We are thrilled to launch this new program that will increase access to electric vehicles and spur sustainable development in communities across the country,” said Toyah Callahan, Vice President—Local Initiatives at the Interstate Renewable Energy Council. “This pilot phase in select states is the first step in our work to bring EV-friendly policies to local governments across the country, helping everyone access the clean transportation of the future.” 

“We’re excited for the opportunity to work with municipalities and partners across the state to establish the Charging Smart program here,” said Bonnie Trowbridge, executive director of Drive Clean Colorado. “The Charging Smart program will help expand EV charging in an equitable way and will accelerate EV-friendly communities.”

Charging Smart is modeled on DOE’s SolSmart program, an initiative that offers expert technical assistance at no cost to help local governments adopt nationally recognized best practices to advance solar energy adoption. Since launching in 2016, SolSmart has helped over 500 local governments and their residents save time and money by reducing the soft costs of going solar. Independent research found that SolSmart-designated communities on average increased solar installations by 17% per month, compared to non-designated communities.

Now, Charging Smart aims to have a similar impact on EVs. Action at the local level is fundamental to EV expansion and accessibility, and by helping local governments adopt nationally-recognized EV best practices, Charging Smart will increase access to charging stations and other essential components of EV infrastructure. By helping local governments streamline their policies to avoid unnecessary burdens, Charging Smart aims to reduce EV charger costs and increase the number of EVs in the community. Increasing EVs brings numerous other economic and health benefits, including lower emissions, improved air quality, reduced noise pollution; and increased jobs as EVs become more popular across the U.S.

Charging Smart is committed to transforming the transportation system in ways that positively benefit people, the environment, and the economy. That includes an emphasis on making sure that all Americans benefit from the transition to electric vehicles and have equal access to charging infrastructure. Equity is embedded throughout the Charging Smart program: In order to earn designation, communities must achieve specific metrics that grant historically underserved residents greater access to the benefits of EVs and EVSE. Charging Smart is part of the Justice40 initiative, meaning that the program has a federal mandate to ensure that historically disadvantaged communities receive the benefits of this investment.

Full details on the Charging Smart program, along with information on how eligible communities can participate, are available at

Media Contact: Zack Loehle, Communications Specialist,, (470) 615-9817.  


About IREC: The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) builds the foundation for rapid adoption of clean energy and energy efficiency to benefit people, the economy, and our planet. Its vision is a 100% clean energy future that is reliable, resilient, and equitable. IREC develops and advances the regulatory reforms, technical standards, and workforce solutions needed to enable the streamlined integration of clean, distributed energy resources. IREC has been trusted for its independent clean energy expertise for over 40 years, since its founding in 1982. For more information, visit or follow IREC on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook


About Drive Clean Colorado, a Clean Cities and Communities Coalition:

Drive Clean Colorado (DCC), a U.S. Department of Energy designated coalition in the Clean Cities and Communities partnership, is a non-profit organization that delivers a variety of programs to accelerate the equitable adoption of clean transportation with the vision of cleaner air and economic growth for Colorado. DCC runs the Drive Electric Colorado initiative which is a clearinghouse for all things EV in Colorado, the Watts@Work program for workplace charging, the EV Safe Tech training project, and hosts four ReCharge coaches for the Colorado Energy Office to provide grant coaching and EV awareness outreach. Learn more at

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