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Electric Byways Toolkit

In an effort to promote sustainable travel across the state, the Colorado Tourism Office, Colorado Energy Office, CDOT, DOLA and other agencies are working together to make traveling Colorado’s scenic byways in an electric vehicle (EV) as convenient as in a conventional vehicle. 

  • An ‘Electrified Byway’ designation will guarantee that an EV driver can make the journey along the byway without range anxiety.
  • Byways will be electrified with a combination of DC fast charging and destination charging at hotels, lodges, tourist attractions, trailheads and downtown commercial areas.
  • Traveling Colorado’s scenic byways in an EV reduces local emissions and helps keep Colorado’s natural areas and tourist attractions clean and pristine.
  • Unlike fueling a conventional vehicle, EV charging is not limited to specific locations like gas stations. EV chargers can be located anywhere one might want to encourage tourists to stop.
  • EV chargers will be located at hotels and near local businesses so that visitors will be able to shop and dine at local establishments while they wait for their vehicle to charge.
  • Electrified byways can attract environmentally conscious tourists who are more likely to respect Colorado’s natural beauty.
  • EV-specific itineraries can be created and offered to those visitors traveling by EV, thereby capturing an entire new niche audience for rural areas.

If your community or business is looking to install EV charging stations along one of Colorado’s Scenic and Historic Byways, here are some resources available. 

Charging Station Installation Financial Support from Colorado Energy Office

To help improve air quality, encourage low-impact tourism and support implementation of the Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan, the Regional Air Quality Council and the Colorado Energy Office partner to provide financial support for electric vehicle charging stations through the Charge Ahead Colorado program.

  • Grants are available for 80 percent of project costs for level II and DC fast charging stations.
  • Level II grants are capped at $9,000 per station.
  • DC fast charger grants are capped at $35,000 per station.

Applicants can learn more about eligibility and available funding as well as submit online applications here. A list of Charge Ahead Colorado municipal awardees to date is available here.

Charge Ahead Colorado typically has three application rounds per year in January, May and October. All public and private entities interested in installing a level II or DC fast charging station are encouraged to apply.

To see a list of charging stations near you, visit the Alternative Fuels Data Center or Plugshare.

Find your ReCharge Coach here.

Colorado Energy Office Contact Information:

Addison Phillips - Associate, Transportation Fuels & Technology
[email protected]
303.866.2128

Zach Owens - Program Manager, Transportation Fuels & Technology
[email protected]
303.866.3279

Support from the Colorado Department of Transportation

Showing travelers you have a charging station is important. CDOT can deploy information highway signage for eligible DC Fast Charging locations that meet a set of minimum criteria outlined in the form found here.

These signage requests can be submitted to Mike King for review (contact information below). 

Colorado Department of Transportation Contact Information: 

Mike King — Assistant Director of Electrification & Energy
[email protected]
303.757.9997

Lenore Bates — Colorado Byways Program Manager
[email protected]
303.757.9786

Charging Station Installation Financial Support from Colorado Department of Local Affairs

DOLA supports both Electrified Byways and Main Street communities to meet the governor's goals and to support downtown revitalization in historic, rural communities. 

Colorado Main Street Program: Main Street communities may use their mini-grants (between $2,500 and $10,000 per year, depending on their status in the program) to leverage other funding for stations placed in the downtown. Main Street communities may also request assistance from technical consultants to help them plan for and design electric vehicle (EV) solutions. 

Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Fund: Local governments wishing to diversify fleet fuels, build aggregated demand for private investment in fueling stations, or that have adopted fleet sustainability goals may request funding for the increment upgrade costs associated with the replacement of fleet vehicles to alternative fueled vehicles such as electric vehicles. The local government must provide a financial match equivalent to 100 percent of the cost of a standard vehicle and demonstrate the ability to build replacement of the electric vehicle into its fleet management system. This support can be leveraged with EV station funding from other sources to build public/private partnerships.  

DOLA Main Street Contact Information:

Gayle Langley, Main Street Coordinator
[email protected]
303.864.7728 

Larry Lucas, Main Street Architect
[email protected]
720.402.9303

Traci Stoffel, Main Street Specialist
[email protected]
303.864.7727

For EIAF grant inquiries, contact your regional manager.

Other Funding, Resources and Programs

Petroleum Cleanup and Redevelopment Fund accepts applications to investigate and clean up contamination at abandoned former gas stations and other petroleum storage tank properties. 

Regional Air Quality Council manages the Charge Ahead Colorado program, which provides information and funding to establish charging stations throughout the state.

Clean Cities Coalition Network spearheads public-private partnerships to develop EV network support.

NREL Sustainable Mobility Initiative is advancing a range of ongiong activities, such as the Connected Traveler and RoadX programs, that provide information and research on trends, technology, needs and much more.

U.S. Department of Energy Federal Funding, Financing, and Technical Support for Plug-In EVs and Charging Stations provides guidance on how to apply for federal dollars to support a local EV network.

AAA Colorado provides only roadside charging at this time. Other needs, including towing, can be addressed by a specialist identified by AAA. When you purchase an electric vehicle, there is a roadside package that should be purchased also. Those technicians are trained to work on those vehicles.

Region-Specific Resources

Garfield County Clean Energy

Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER), Carbondale

Articles

Sunset Magazine’s “3 EV Road Trips for Your Next Vacation”

Lonely Planet says 2019 travel trends include EV road trips

How to Road Trip in Your Electric Vehicle

Matador Network’s “The ultimate American road trip to take in an electric vehicle”

The Future of the Great American Road Trip is Electric

2011 Stevens Pass in Washington — Read about the nation’s first electrified National Scenic Byway

Spokane’s Scenic Highway Perfect for Tourism

Electric Vehicle Tourism White Paper (2014)

Turning the West Coast’s I-5 into an Electric “Green” Highway

Gas Station Converts To Electric Charging Station And Speeds Ahead Of Curve