Steamboat City Council OKs electric vehicle readiness plan, making path for more infrastructure |

Steamboat City Council OKs electric vehicle readiness plan, making path for more infrastructure

The Kum & Go at Angler's Drive has recently installed super chargers for their customers with electric vehicles. (Photo by John F. Russell)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs City Council has formalized its mission of promoting electric-powered vehicles used by the city and its residents.

Council members voted Tuesday to adopt an electric vehicle readiness plan, which focuses on moving the city’s fleet of vehicles to run on electricity and building more electric charging infrastructure throughout the city so residents have more incentives to buy electric vehicles and those who own them already have more desire to visit Steamboat.

“The Steamboat Springs Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan sets a vision, mission and goals for Electric Vehicle Readiness in Steamboat Springs,” Winnie DelliQuadri, special projects and intergovernmental services manager with the city, wrote in a memo to council. “The plan identifies gaps and barriers that impede local residents from choosing to purchase and drive an electric vehicle, and lays out a road map for addressing the gaps and barriers in such a way that makes it as convenient and easy to drive an electric vehicle as it is to drive a gas powered vehicle in our community.”

After Gov. Jared Polis announced several ambitious environmental goals for the state, Routt County and Northwest Colorado unveiled their own Climate Action Plans, and DelliQuadri said the city’s electric vehicle readiness is one piece of a larger push toward sustainability.

“The city will be the entity that carries out code and policy adoption aspects of the plan; however, other partners have indicated their desire to carry out or support other strategies and actions,” DelliQuadi said.

As for specific goals within the plan, Yampa Valley Electric Association has committed to installing one electric vehicle charger per year, and the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is in the process of hiring a transportation and energy specialist. That person would work with the city and county to implement various strategies and actions, according to Yampa Valley Sustainability Council President Michelle Stewart.

Northern Colorado Clean Cities, a nonprofit that works with local municipalities to achieve sustainable goals, has also committed to assisting with fleet planning and education and outreach, including hosting ride and drive events.

Steamboat has already started implementing electric chargers across the city, as Steamboat Resort has several in its indoor parking structures and outside the Sheraton Hotel. Kum & Go on Anglers Drive built the city’s first high-speed electric vehicle charging stations, paid for almost entirely by a $250,000 grant from the Colorado Energy Office.

“It gives people the confidence that they can get anywhere in the state in an electric vehicle,” Christian Williss, senior director of transportation fuels and technology for the Colorado Energy Office, said of electric vehicle chargers. “Just as you need a gas station on the interstate when you’re traveling across the state, you also need a location to charge your vehicle.”

The plan also discusses transitioning the city’s vehicle fleet to become more sustainable, which Steamboat Transit Manager Jonathan Flint said is a necessary step to continue progressing as a city.

“Down the road in the future, with a lot of the emissions mandates coming out for heavy buses, diesel may stop being an option,” Flint said. “We just may not have the option to move forward with anything that has a diesel engine attached to it.”

The total cost of the Electric Vehicle Readiness plan is $59,750, according to DelliQuadri, for which the city received a $25,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and a $10,000 grant from the Colorado Energy Office.

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