Electric Cars Are Coming to a Street Near You and Here's Why
If you’ve been driving around Fort Collins recently, you might have noticed some exciting new additions to our area’s roadways. I am talking about electric vehicles, or EVs, whose arrival in Northern Colorado is far outpacing national averages, thanks to our community’s leadership in business innovation, technological adoption and sustainability.
You might have personally experienced this new technology as well. Drive Electric Northern Colorado, or DENC, a community-wide initiative designed to achieve widespread deployment of EVs in our region, has conducted 15 ride-and-drive events over the past year, with more than 650 people taking the opportunity to get behind the wheel of an electric car.
It’s no accident that Northern Colorado has become an epicenter of the nation’s emerging electric vehicle fleet. DENC — a partnership between Fort Collins, Loveland, CSU and the Electrification Coalition — was launched here specifically because of the community’s leadership in and enthusiasm for innovation, as well as local business commitment.
EVs have been on the market only for a few years. However, during this short time, they’ve achieved an impressive record of consumer satisfaction while racking up award after award from the likes of Consumer Reports, Car and Driver and Motortrend. Sales of electric vehicles in the United States are three times higher than the number of hybrids that were sold in the same period of development. Sales in Northern Colorado, like so many things we do, are ahead of the national curve.
The reason why EVs are gaining such traction is because they are true alternatives to gasoline-powered vehicles, offering numerous tangible benefits. When my family bought our Nissan Leaf last summer, I couldn’t help but exclaim to our teenage kids, “Behold, a car without an internal combustion engine!” The magnitude of that was reason for pause. From my own experience I can tell you that owning an EV has made me an even bigger advocate of these cars than I’d expected to be. In addition to providing numerous societal benefits, the quick acceleration from instant torque makes EVs really fun to drive. EVs are far greener than gasoline-powered vehicles and are the only vehicles whose environmental impact actually stands to decrease as the electric grid becomes less carbon intensive. This is especially true in our home, where we buy green power from the city to reduce our family’s carbon footprint. But the best part about owning an EV is that we never have to visit a gas station or find time in our busy schedules to get the oil changed.
Driving an EV also helps to support several broader national, state and local energy and environmental goals. Driving EVs helps to reduce America’s vulnerability to volatile oil prices, while supporting goals for lower greenhouse gas emissions and local investments in a healthy clean energy economy.
Experiencing the benefits of an electric vehicle on a day-to-day basis and seeing such enthusiasm for EVs around town, I can’t help but feel that Northern Colorado is on the cusp of something truly revolutionary. If you haven’t done so already, consider getting involved in all that DENC has to offer toward this growing movement. Come to a ride-and-drive, join their EV Enthusiast group, become a volunteer, learn more about the technology, and even consider purchasing or leasing an EV for you or your business. I think you’ll enjoy the ride.
Judy Dorsey is the executive director of the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster and president and principal engineer at Brendle Group.
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