Electric cars gaining traction
Where to get fully charged:
• The Arrabelle
• Sonnenalp Hotel
• Mountain Haus
• Vail Transportation Center
• Lionshead parking structure
• Walking Mountains Science Center
• The Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa
• Park Hyatt
• Edwards Station
• Eagle County Building
AVON — Eagle County has a new electric vehicle charging station in Avon, expanding the ability and incentive to drive electric cars across the valley.
Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon secured a grant from Colorado Energy Office’s Charge Ahead Colorado program in November and quickly installed the charging station at its building. The charging stations are ready for use on a first-come, first-served basis.
Eagle County now has 12 public charging stations from Vail to Eagle, including the Lionshead parking structure in Vail, Edwards Station, the Eagle County Building and many hotels.
The number of registered electric vehicles in the county has grown from three in 2014 to 39 this year, said John Gitchell, the environmental sustainability coordinator for Eagle County.
With another charging station in Eagle County, the infrastructure for electric vehicles is growing. Drivers are now given another place to plug in and charge up. There are also more and more dealerships selling electric vehicles, as close as Glenwood Springs and Denver.
“I think just seeing more of them around will kind of prompt that question, ‘Is now the time for me to buy an electric vehicle?’” Gitchell said.
Local businesses are responding to the growing electric vehicle community. Among the public stations in the county are multiple hotels, including Park Hyatt at Beaver Creek, The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon, Antlers at Vail, Sonnenalp Hotel and Mountain Haus in Vail.
Walking Mountains, in keeping with its goal of sustainability education, helps power its new charging station with renewable energy from a solar system on site. When the facility was first built in Avon, all of the infrastructure was there for a charging station, so John-Ryan Lockman, Walking Mountains’ energy programs manager, decided to join in the promotion of sustainable transportation.
“We firmly believe in demonstration,” Lockman said. “If we can have a charging station on site and can walk the walk and start investing in fleet vehicles, like we have, then others will see that. Other businesses, visitors — people will see that and realize there’s some real benefits here. And we can educate the community by being that leader.”
The benefits extend beyond environmentalism, Lockman said. The less money drivers are spending at gas pumps is more money saved that goes back into the community, he said.
“We may be behind the curve a little bit, but we’re probably seeing the same growth as other communities,” Gitchell said. “I see it continuing to increase. I know there’s new models of electric vehicles coming out all of the time.”
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and rleonhart@ vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram @colorado_livin_on_the_hill.