Colorado’s Plan for Zero-Emission Vehicle Implementation

Governor’s Jared Polis first executive order promotes the use of electric and zero-emission vehicles, paving the way for mandatory sales.

Following California’s steps, Colorado Governor Jared Polis has signed an executive order outlining a series of initiatives and strategies meant to help Colorado transition to zero-emission vehicles (ZEV). Colorado becomes the 11th state to implement such a plan, which requires automakers to achieve certain sales targets for ZEVs.

Colorado has already taken important steps toward electrified transportation, passenger cars and heavy-duty vehicles such as buses. The state offers a $5,000 tax credit for passenger electric vehicles (EVs) and partners with the private sector to build fast-charging stations along Colorado’s major highways. Also, it allocated a portion of Volkswagen settlement funds to support vehicle electrification and has adopted a goal of 940,000 EVs on the road by 2030.

The state is also a signatory to the Regional Electric Vehicles for the West Memorandum of Understanding, which creates a framework for collaboration in developing an Intermountain West Electric Corridor, and last but not least, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission recently adopted Low-Emission Vehicle standards.

According to Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, at the end of August 2018, there were nearly 16,000 such vehicles on Colorado’s roads. The figure reflects a 50 percent increase over the same period in 2017. 

Executive order directives

The state aims to create an interdepartmental transportation electrification workgroup to develop, coordinate and implement programs and strategies to support widespread transportation electrification across Colorado. The state’s Department of Public Health and Environment will develop a rule to establish a Colorado Zero-Emission vehicle program, and will propose that rule to the Air Quality Control Commission no later than May 2019.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will revise the state Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, which describes how the state will allocate nearly $70 million received in trust funds to the settlement of the federal Volkswagen emissions case. The revised plan will focus all remaining, eligible investment on supporting electrification of transportation, including transit buses, school buses and trucks. Moreover, the Colorado Department of Transportation is set to develop a department electric vehicle policy and plan designed to assure that state transportation investments and programs support widespread transportation electrification.

“Our goal is to reach 100 percent renewable electricity by 2040 and embrace the green energy transition already underway economy-wide,” Governor Jared Polis said in prepared remarks. “Today’s Executive Order will strengthen our economy and protect the wallets of consumers across the state. As we continue to move towards a cleaner electric grid, the public health and environmental benefits of widespread transportation electrification will only increase.”