Conservation Groups Applaud Seven-State Pact to Develop EV Charging Corridors

(Denver, CO) OCT. 4, 2017 -- The seven-state agreement to develop “charging corridors” for electric vehicles (EVs) will help cleanse the West’s air and save consumers money, according to several regional energy efficiency and conservation groups.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) announced Oct. 4 by the governors of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming calls for the states to cooperate in developing locations to recharge electric vehicles along east-west Interstates 10, 40, 70, 76, 80, 84, 86, 90 and 94, and north-south Interstates 15 and 25.

As conservation advocates, we congratulate the governors for their forward- thinking action to help their residents reap the benefits of transportation electrification including cleaner air, more livable cities and towns, and saving money at the gas pump.

The pact addresses two of the biggest challenges that have been barriers to widespread adoption of EVs: lack of fast-charging locations along highways that would enable long-distance travel, and the fact that auto manufacturers have sold fewer of their EV models in the West than elsewhere. Carmakers have sold many more EVs in states that have adopted “zero-emission” requirements, which encourage automakers to sell electric vehicles.

Still, the West has emerged as one of the hottest markets for electric vehicles.  Colorado, Nevada and Utah all rank among the top five states in the nation for EV growth in 2016. Las Vegas had faster growth in EV sales than any other city, Denver was fourth, while Boulder, CO had the highest EV sales rate of any city outside of California.

According to Will Toor, transportation director for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, “Collectively, the actions laid out in the MOU will supercharge the EV market in the West. The governors have identified key issues they need to work on – building charging along highway corridors, working with the automakers to increase model availability, and making sure that building codes and utility policies support EV charging.

In the last few months, Governor Hickenlooper has signed an executive order on climate that includes a state electric vehicle plan; his administration has released a plan for spending VW plans that invests heavily in electric vehicle charging and electric buses, and he is now working with states across the West on EV charging. This is the kind of leadership we need.”

Sophia Guerrero-Murphy, transportation and energy advocate at Conservation Colorado, said "We're thrilled by this announcement, which will help Coloradans connect to the outdoors and the places they love. The West is leading the way as electric vehicle adoption and use grows across the country. Cleaning up our transportation system is critical protecting public health and the environment, and we look forward to working with these governors to continue to modernize our transportation system and make it more accessible to everyone." 

Danny Katz, executive director of COPIRG, said, “We are particularly excited by the commitment to get manufacturers to bring more EV models to Colorado. It is not fair that Colorado consumers don’t have access to clean cars that people in other states can buy. The state should insist that the manufacturers give our consumers more choices.”

Zach Pierce, from the Sierra Club, states, "Building out our electric vehicle infrastructure as we shift the electric sector to clean, renewable energy is critical for achieving Governor Hickenlooper’s goals of reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions 26% by 2025.  This announcement will further encourage the rapid transition to electric vehicles and is an all-around win for our climate, our public health, and our economy.”