Steamboat Springs hosts test drives to support city’s Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan
A Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Jeep Rubicon, Nissan Leaf and a variety of Teslas were in the Howelsen Hill parking lot among other electric vehicles on Sunday, May 8, available to anyone who wanted to test drive them.
The EV Ride & Drive Event is an initiative put on by the city of Steamboat Springs and partners — Yampa Valley Electric Association, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, Clean Energy Economy for the Region, Northern Colorado Clean Cities, EV Range — in an effort to carry out the city’s Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan adopted in 2021.
Ride & Drive organizer Winnie DelliQuadri works as the city’s Special Projects and Intergovernmental Services manager. She said the event is aimed at promoting the adoption of electric vehicles in the community by taking down barriers that prevent people from purchasing them.
“There’s this barrier called having to go to Denver to the dealerships to try them,” DelliQuadri said. “The entire goal is to enable people to experience an electric vehicle right there in their home.”
The event included “EV ambassadors,” or locals in the community who donated their cars for the event. Cars were also donated by the city, Yampa Valley Electric Association and Steamboat Motors. On Sunday, people had the opportunity to test drive 11 electric vehicles in total.
Mike Beyer, program specialist for the Yampa Valley Electric Association, said the YVEA has been a partner since the beginning, and he noted how the event has expanded over the past three years, with only four cars available to test drive the first year.
The EV Ride & Drive Event happens twice a year — once in May and again in September — and generally lasts from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Those interested are given the opportunity to do a five to 10 minutes test drive on previously selected routes throughout Steamboat.
According to the Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan, there was a 34% increase in carbon dioxide emissions for on- and off-road vehicles combined from 2005 to 2021 in Routt County. The plan’s report also showed that, at the time it was adopted in 2021, gas-powered vehicles accounted for 66% of transportation sector-related emissions in the county and 82% in the city.
The city’s goals with the program are largely centered around infrastructure, accessibility and permitting.
This involves plans to install more charging stations for electric vehicles around town, adopting policy and codes to promote electric vehicles, and creating opportunities locally for people to get their hands on electric vehicles.
In Colorado, those who purchase a new electric vehicle are eligible for a $2,000 state tax credit. A $1,500 tax credit is available for those who sign a two-year lease on a new electric vehicle. A new program launched in April also created a federal electric vehicle tax credit that can rebate up to $7,500 for new purchases that meet several qualifications.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that 15 million electric vehicles will be on the roads by 2030.
Kit Geary is the county, public safety and education reporter. To reach her, call 970-871-4229 or email her at kgeary@SteamboatPilot.com.
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