New power ports coming to Eagle County; electric vehicle use is on the rise |

New power ports coming to Eagle County; electric vehicle use is on the rise

An electric car charges at Walking Mountains Science Center.
Townsend Bessent | Daily file photo |

VAIL — While it may not be as impolite as a spray of Prius repellent, icing is becoming more frowned upon these days.

Indeed, a new world of terminology has accompanied a new world of vehicles powered by common household electricity; dark exhaust spewed deliberately is now known as “rolling coal” or “Prius repellent,” and the internal combustion engine has been acronymed into the word “ice.”

In Eagle County, new charging stations are popping up — a couple are expected to become available in the coming weeks in Eagle’s Chambers Park and Edwards’ Freedom Park — and the dozen or so existing stations across the county are seeing steady use. Parking at a power port with an internal combustion engine is known as icing, and if you pull up to a charging station and find a non-electric vehicle parked in it, then you’ve been iced.

Vail environmental manager Kristen Bertuglia said the town’s 12 ports see about 50 different electric vehicle drivers per month; it costs Vail roughly $279 per month and has saved 14,123 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions in total thus far.

“According to Chargepoint, that’s like planting 537 trees and letting them grow for 10 years,” Bertuglia wrote in an email.

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Electric car manufacturer Tesla began production on its Model 3 this week, Reuters reported, and is expected to hit an output of 20,000 per month in December for the $35,000 car.

In Vail, Tesla opened a showroom in late 2016. There were 68 electric vehicles registered in Eagle County in October, and by April, that number was up to 90.

The first deliveries of the Model 3 are expected by the end of the month, and the lower price point on the car is expected to make Tesla a major competitor in the market, even among mainstream car companies.

“Expectations for a smooth rollout are particularly high among investors,” wrote Reuters reporter Marc Vartabedian. “Tesla has been challenging General Motors for the title of biggest U.S. automaker by market capitalization, even though its output is a fraction of GM’s. … Tesla had fielded 373,000 Model 3 reservations as of April 2016, the latest date at which it announced a figure.”


Tesla’s other models have been popular, as well, despite the much higher price point. In May, Aspen Times reporter Austin Colbert joined freelance writer Kelly Hayes for a trip up 12,000-foot Independence Pass in the Tesla Model X P100D, an all-electric, luxury crossover SUV.

“With a price tag of $158,400 for the car I drove (it featured the aptly named Ludicrous mode), the Model X has been knocking out automotive journalists ever since it was introduced in August,” Hayes wrote. “The Tesla took the most vertical of grades on Independence Pass like they were as flat as bowling alleys.”

Hayes said the Model X P100D made “less noise than the proverbial church mouse,” a polite vehicle for what the company hopes will be a future that’s more conscious of the environment.

In Vail, that spirit is carried over to the parking garages, where there’s not an actual ticket on the books for icing.

“If we see someone icing on a busy day in Lionshead, we will give them a warning or politely ask them to move,” said Mike Rose, with town of Vail parking.

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