How Drive Clean Colorado Is Supporting Transportation Electrification

January 27, 2022

Drive Clean Colorado is a member of the National EV Charging Initiative, made up of members committed to working together to develop a national charging network for light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles and inspire deeper commitments from state leaders, the administration and each other. View the National EV Charging Initiative Principles here

This blog post emphasizes Principle #6: Electric utilities, regulators, charging providers, and stakeholders should work together to accelerate transportation electrification in a way that supports the electric grid and benefits all utility customers.

Drive Clean Colorado is a non-profit dedicated to championing healthy air quality by accelerating the deployment of clean and equitable transportation and mobility. We agree with the National EV Charging Initiative’s Principle #6: Electric utilities, regulators, charging providers, and stakeholders should work together to accelerate transportation electrification in a way that supports the electric grid and benefits all utility customers. One way we are working towards this principle is building bridges for these relationships and creating connections between utilities and stakeholders.

One of our projects includes Drive Electric Colorado, an initiative that encourages electric vehicle (EV) adoption across the state through EV education and awareness of consumers, dealerships, policymakers, and utilities and regulators. Drive Electric Colorado is also part of Drive Electric USA, a national EV initiative made up of over 20 states “to successfully build statewide, successful EV efforts to drive the purchase and use of EVs of all sizes and by general citizens and fleets.” (Drive Electric USA) As part of this goal, we work with utilities and stakeholders to address the barriers to EV adoption, including EV charging infrastructure gaps, lack of charging education, and access to charging stations in places like multi-family units and underserved communities. To overcome these challenges, utilities, stakeholders, and their customers need to hear from and communicate with each other.

Drive Clean Colorado uses focus groups to gain insight into what barriers electric utilities, regulators, charging providers, and other stakeholders are facing. In Colorado, we are currently facilitating the enrollment of an EV charging focus group with a local Colorado company. This focus group aims to help utilities understand and manage electricity demand from vehicle charging by providing them with real-world data and electricity usage from drivers across the state. Many EV club members and volunteers as part of our Drive Electric Colorado Volunteer EV Coach program have enrolled in this program so far. In addition, Drive Clean Colorado is involved with a nationwide project funded through the U.S. Department of Energy that enrolls EV fleets and charging infrastructure across the state in a data collection program. The results of this program will provide analysis and insight into usage statistics including duration, level of charging, and electricity usage from charging stations across multiple use-cases.

Now that utilities are becoming more involved with the transportation industry, they must build consumer confidence with EVs. By assisting with this on the ground work, we are also supporting Principle #7: The national EV charging ecosystem should provide a convenient, reliable, seamless, and secure experience for all drivers. Drive Clean Colorado works with major utility providers to help advertise and educate consumers about the programs that benefit current and prospective EV owners. Without committed outreach, many potential customers would be unaware of utility EV programs that would save them money. Drive Clean Colorado’s expertise and local connections help Colorado’s utility providers reach a larger audience.

As the EV market grows, utilities must be involved with setting up infrastructure, providing incentives and education, and ensuring equitable growth. Drive Clean Colorado works with utilities to better understand how demand charges impact EV charging deployment and return on investment for site hosts. Charging should not be prohibitively expensive for businesses to install, nor for users to plug in. Collaboration across utility coops and public utilities is essential to create fair pricing across the state and nation. As subject matter experts on the electric grid, utilities can ensure sustainable use through charge management and education. Drive Clean Colorado is proud to partner with our state utilities to ensure an equitable and beneficial transition to electric transportation.

View the original blog post here

Written by: Julia Davila, Communications and Engagement Manager, and Sonja Meintsma, Regional Director, Southern Colorado

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