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Vail Daily column: Sales event a great opportunity

Mark Hoblitzell
Valley Voices

The REV Up Your Ride Electric Vehicle Sales Event, a campaign for residents of Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties, is a great opportunity for area residents in the market for a new vehicle or considering the switch to a more environmentally friendly vehicle.

The goal of this campaign is to encourage drivers to purchase a battery electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid instead of the conventional vehicle they would otherwise buy. This group-buy program includes a wide variety of makes and models of vehicles with options ranging from Nissan and Chevrolet to Audi and BMW.

The environmental benefits of these vehicles are well-documented and the group-buy campaign helps us work toward one of the recommended goals of the Eagle County Climate Action Plan, to “expand the network of electric vehicle charging stations and promote state and federal incentives for purchasing electric vehicles.” These vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions when driving on battery power, which directly improves local air quality. Electricity as a vehicle fuel produces 36 percent less carbon emissions than gasoline.

Electric vehicles offer economic benefits as well. Compared to a similar gasoline-powered vehicle, the consumer savings and benefits start from day one. At the pump, regular unleaded is currently averaging $2.19 statewide, $2.59 in Vail and $2.43 in Glenwood Springs. Using Holy Cross Energy electric rates, it would cost an equivalent of 95 cents per gallon. In the town of Vail, charging stations are free and, depending on the vehicle, can provide up to an 80 percent charge in the two-hour free parking window at the parking structures.

With a wide variety of vehicles available, residents of Eagle County do not need to sacrifice performance, luxury or the family budget in order to find a more sustainable vehicle. After discounts, depending on tax credits and vehicle options, the Nissan Leaf (107-mile range) may cost as little as $13,015. The Chevy Volt (53-mile electric range, 420-mile combined range) may cost as little as $20,595 after discounts and tax credits. The Chevy Bolt (238-mile range) has a total cost as low as $24,695 after discounts and tax credits.

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On the high end, if a resident is interested in purchasing the Audi A3 e-tron, then it can cost as low as $32,900 after discounts and tax credits. The e-tron has a 16-mile electric range and an EPA combined 34 mpg average, which can be leveraged to achieve greater savings depending on driving habits. The comparable Audi A4 allroad starts at over $44,000 and has an EPA combined 25 mpg average. Similar savings can be expected with participating BMW models.

These vehicles, especially with discounts, are easily comparable to a conventional vehicle at sticker price. Combined with discounts, tax incentives and immediate savings at the pump, a consumer immediately sees rewards from the switch to electric. Range anxiety is a valid consumer concern and the option of plug-in hybrids, with a full gasoline motor for backup, eliminates that concern. There are vehicle options available for all types of drivers and needs.

To try driving an electric vehicle and to learn more on how to make an electric vehicle work in the mountains, check out “The Science Behind Electric Vehicles” at Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon on May 18 and learn about these incredible vehicles, or go to http://www.GarfieldClean Energy.org.

Mark Hoblitzell is the town of Vail environmental sustainability coordinator.

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