Talking Green: Ride-n-Drive showcases plug-in SUV for mountain drivers | SteamboatToday.com

Talking Green: Ride-n-Drive showcases plug-in SUV for mountain drivers


Suzie Romig
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Wildlife ecologist Lee O’Brien will show his plug-in, hybrid electric, all-wheel drive SUV Mitsubishi Outlander at the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council EV Ride-n-Drive event on June 29.
Courtesy photo

A common question asked of Yampa Valley Sustainability Council staff regarding green transportation is, “I can’t afford a Tesla, so is there a more reasonably priced electric SUV?” 

That answer is “yes.” The all-wheel drive crossover Mitsubishi Outlander was introduced in North America in 2018 at a base price of $36,000, not including tax incentives. An Outlander PHEV is one of many plug-in vehicles that will be on display and available for short rides during the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council EV Ride-n-Drive event from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29. 

“I’d been waiting for the Outlander to come out (in Colorado) for about five years,” said Fort Collins resident Lee O’Brien of his PHEV Outlander, the No. 1 selling version in Europe. “So far, it’s been a great car — no problems, quiet, comfortable. It does great in the snow and has good traction.”

O’Brien, an ecologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, now commutes 24 miles roundtrip to work in all-electric mode with no tailpipe emissions. The Outlander has 4X4 off-road ability and can use electric or gas power, so O’Brien only fills up the vehicle’s gas tank for long trips and gets 34 mpg.

The state of Colorado has one of the more advantageous tax incentive programs in the country for plug-in vehicles. For example, O’Brien received a state rebate for $5,000 and a federal rebate for $5,000.

Skyline Mitsubishi in Thornton has sold 42 Outlanders so far this year and about 60 last year. Similar plug-in, all-wheel drive options include the Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro. At higher price points, Volvo, BMW, Audi and Tesla all have SUV electric options.

Locals can’t motor around Steamboat Springs for a day without seeing a sleek all-electric Tesla. In 2018, Routt County had 24 electric and 132 hybrid electric/gas vehicles registered, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue. Statewide there are 8,500 all-electric vehicles and 65,250 hybrids registered.

If you go

What: Yampa Valley Sustainability Council EV Ride-n-Drive event
When: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29
Where: Main Street Steamboat Farmers Market, downtown Steamboat Springs
Details: View a Mitsubishi Outlander SUV, Tesla 3, Tesla X, Honda Clarity, Chevorlet Bolt, Nissan Leaf Plus, GEM vehicle and four styles of all-terrain electric mountain bikes.

The versatile, plug-in hybrid electric engines negate any range anxiety, and for all-electric vehicle driving, Colorado is now home to 714 public charging stations, according to the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.

Other vehicles featured at the free educational EV Ride-n-Drive event on Saturday, June 29, will include Tesla 3, Tesla X, Honda Clarity, Chevorlet Bolt, extended range Leaf Plus, 2019 Leaf, GEM vehicle and four styles of all-terrain all-electric mountain bikes by QuietKat in Eagle. Vehicle owners will be available to answer questions. 

More local EV owners are invited to join the event. Learn more at yvsc.org/evridendrive.

Suzie Romig is the energy outreach director for the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.


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