Colorado County is proposing a plan to prepare for more electric vehicles and charging stations

As Colorado takes steps toward a green future with electric vehicles, Arapahoe County is trying to get everyone and everything on the same page; from the electricity grid to drivers of electric cars.

The province is working together on a plan and the community is invited to participate this week.

The Regional Electric Vehicle Action Plan will provide a roadmap for the province. Currently, less than 5% of registered vehicles in the province are electric, but by 2030 it is estimated that 10% to 15% of vehicles will be electric. It is also estimated that the province will need an additional 2,700 charging stations by then.

A group of Tesla cars line up at charging stations at a dealership in Littleton, Colorado, August 23, 2020.

David Zalubowski/AP


Jim Katzer, the Transportation Division manager for Arapahoe County, has received many questions about electric vehicles and their future.

“With the interest and electrification of vehicles in the area, people need to be aware of the question: ‘What does an electric car mean to me? How do I buy one? How do I charge if I just want to charge it at home?’” Katzer said.

Katzer said the county plans to educate people, businesses and first responders about electric vehicles through the plan. The plan is also a guideline for expanding charging infrastructure and transitioning fleets to electric cars.

“There is a trend to electrify fleets, both private and public in the area,” says Katzer. “So that generates the need for charging stations.”

Jim Katzer, Arapahoe County Transportation Division manager

CBS


In six years, an estimated 86,000 electric vehicles will be on Arapahoe County roads, which also means the need for more mechanics and technicians. Meanwhile, instructors at Arapahoe Community College are preparing the future workforce.

“All automotive students at ACC are learning about electric vehicles. We know this isn’t going away,” said Doc Viola, director of automotive service technology at Arapahoe Community College. “We need to train young people to work on your electronics.”

Viola, who is currently training future EV workers, says ACC students gain hands-on experience working on EVs during their academic careers.

Viola added that many of the students have different backgrounds and knowledge of cars. Initially it involves learning maintenance repairs on traditional vehicles, and then moving to learning about EVs.

“They will go over the basics of braking systems, steering suspension systems, heating and air conditioning systems,” Viola said. “It is very important to train the next generation of engineers.”

Doc Viola, director of automotive service technology at Arapahoe Community College

CBS


Viola also added that the sooner students become familiar with electric vehicles and their safety protocols, the better prepared they will be when they finish school. By the time they graduate, they’ll be ready to jump-start a career in high demand.

“We want to prepare our students as best as possible to be able to earn a good living repairing these vehicles,” says Viola. “This will benefit students as new technology comes into the market and they will be at the forefront.”

While the plan will support the regional transition to electric vehicles, Katzer said there are still many questions that don’t have answers.

“We asked the same questions: Will the power grid be ready?” Katzer asked.

Katzer mentioned other questions that needed to be answered including; Should the province invest money in installing charging stations in the community? What is the role of a developer when it comes to developing land and building charging stations? How should charging stations be organised?

A virtual meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. to get community feedback on the plan.

For more information about the plan and the meeting, click here.

The community can provide feedback on the plan online until February 15. Katzer said once they gather feedback from the community, they will consider revising the plan. The plan is then submitted to the province’s board of commissioners for formal approval. Katzer thinks that will happen in the spring.

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