Area counties seeking electric car discounts for residents | VailDaily.com

Area counties seeking electric car discounts for residents

A Chevy Volt and a Tesla were part of a recent demonstration of electric vehicles at Eagle County. Agencies in Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties are asking car dealers to offers residents discount on electric cars for 90 days, beginning April 1.

EAGLE — Governments in three counties want to create a discount deal for electric car buyers. They're asking local auto dealers to drop prices on electric vehicles for 90 days, beginning April 1. If they get their way, the discounts will be for plug-in electric vehicles, and battery-powered vehicles.

How deep those discounts would be remains to be determined. Auto dealers have until Feb. 23 to submit their proposals.

Garfield Clean Energy rolled out a request for proposals Monday, said Stuart McArthur, Garfield Clean Energy chair and Parachute town administrator.

"We hope to receive proposals from many dealers, since so many auto manufacturers are now producing plug-in electric vehicles," McArthur said.

“We hope to receive proposals from many dealers, since so many auto manufacturers are now producing plug-in electric vehicles.”Stuart McArthurTown administrator, Parachute

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Rev Up

The program is called "Electric Vehicle Sales Event: REV Up Your Ride."

Eagle County joined Garfield Clean Energy and 10 other agencies.

Boulder and Fort Collins rolled out similar programs in 2015 and 2016, said Matt Shmigelsky, an energy coach with CLEER, Clean Energy Economy for the Region.

Energy Savings

Electric vehicles cost the equivalent of $1.10 per gallon to operate, and produce about 40 percent fewer carbon emissions than comparable gasoline-powered vehicles, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Eagle County officials are already dozens deep in electric and hybrid car ownership land.

They bought their new Chevy Volt with a grant from the state energy department and turned it over to the county's department of Child, Family and Adult Services for a pilot program.

Government Grant

The grant also covered the cost of a charging station at the Eagle County administration building.

The Volt goes about 40 miles on a full battery charge, and since county employees do lots of short trips to check on their people, it's working out fine, Gitchell said. Occasionally, employees have to go to Denver and Utah.

The Volt's gas generator kicks in with its 11-gallon tank, and it gets about 55 mpg with a range of near 400 miles, according to John Gitchell, head of Eagle County's Actively Green team.

The Volt is essentially an electric car with a small gasoline engine to charge the batteries. In addition to the Volt, the county has 20 Toyota Prius hybrid cars. Those vehicles rely on gasoline engines for long distances and rely primarily on battery power for short trips. The batteries on the Toyotas are recharged when the car slows down via what's called "regenerative braking."

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.