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Denver accelerating switch to electric cars



Denver accelerating switch to electric cars


By Bruce Finley The Denver Post

Denver is pressing ahead on its promise to help make Paris climate agreement cuts in heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution by accelerating a local takeoff of plug-in vehicles.

City officials on Wednesday said 300 charging stations for electric vehicles will be set up around metro Denver over the next two years. They’re also looking at changes in the city building code to encourage installation of more charging stations near proliferating apartments and condos.


Lawsuit settlement money paid by Volkswagen after the diesel emissions test scandal will help fund Denver’s effort.

Pollution from vehicles burning fossil fuels is the second largest source of Denver’s greenhouse gas emissions after emissions from heating and cooling commercial buildings, city officials said. A faster shift from vehicles running on fossil fuels to battery-powered transport also could help Denver begin to comply, after years of failure, with federal ozone air quality standards.

Colorado residents have registered more than 10,000 plug-in vehicles, up from 1,200 four years ago. Nearly 2 percent of new vehicles sold in the state are plug-ins, city officials said. In recent years, the number of plug-in vehicles has been increasing by more than 40 percent annually. And simultaneous efforts to move away from coal-fired power plants for electricity, which release greenhouse gases, mean the environmental benefit of electric vehicles likely will increase.

“Without electrified transportation, we cannot meet those climate goals,” Denver Environmental Health electric vehicles project chief Tyler Svitak said. “And the market is pushing us this way. People are showing demand. We are hoping to meet that demand.”

Mayor Michael Hancock has committed the city to help meet Paris climate targets even though President Donald Trump is trying to get the nation out of that deal. Hancock championed electric vehicles in his “state of the city” speech last month and on Wednesday issued a statement referring to a city greenhouse gas reduction target of 80 percent by 2050. He called electric vehicles a “valuable investment in both air quality and as a tool for fighting climate change.”

“We’re hoping to move forward, with or without the support of the White House,” Svitak said. “Both collectively, and individually, cities can make a difference.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper for years has promoted electric vehicles as alternatives to those running on gasoline and is working with other Western governors to set up battery-charging stations from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

Neither Hickenlooper nor Hancock ride in a plug-in vehicle.

But car dealers increasingly give options. There are at least 35 types of electric vehicles listed for purchase this summer, up from three in 2012. Tesla’s budget friendly Model 3 vehicles are being distributed with thousands bound for driver




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