CEO Policy & Research Team : Maria Eisemann & Samantha Reifer
National Drive Electric Week has come and gone but electric vehicles are still gearing up in Colorado. Most excitingly, the Colorado Springs EV Club is hosting it’s own Pikes Peak EV Hill Climb on September 24th. Does an electric vehicle (EV) event in Colorado Springs sound surprising to you?
When thinking about Colorado Springs, some things that come to mind are military bases, Pikes Peak, and Garden of the Gods. The second most populous city in the state of Colorado and located about an hour (71 miles) outside of Denver, the typical Colorado Springs tendencies of driving long distances and up large mountains is not often thought of as usual EV activity. However, even though it has been a location of cautious EV adoption over the last few years, the infrastructure being built in and around Colorado Springs is positioning the municipality to be a charging safe haven for EV drivers now and in the future.
Recently, EVgo, a national company that provides charging solutions for businesses and EV owners, completed installing one of the longest corridors of EV charging stations in the nation between Denver and Colorado Springs. Plus, Tesla has a plethora of superchargers that connect Colorado Springs around and outside of Colorado, making Colorado Springs one of the most well connected municipalities in the State.
Due to this blossoming regional EV infrastructure and the recent Drive Electric Week, the focus of this market insight will be on an EV owner in Colorado Springs. The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) reached out to the Colorado Springs EV club to find a member who was persuaded to purchase their EV after a ride and drive event and who would be willing to share his or her experiences. Ride and drive events promote EV adoption by letting community members test drive or take rides in a variety of electric vehicles.
“My first exposure to electric cars was last years drive electric week event at the citadel mall in Colorado Springs, I knew then I would never buy another gas car.”
Nicholas Brace, a gentleman in a family of four, including his wife Rebecca and two young children (Saia a 3 year old and Evelyn a 9 month old) was selected for the interview. Nicholas and his family frequently takes road trips within their Tesla Model S. He introduced his responses with the quote above, and we know (from all the other responses from club members akin to this one) that he isn’t the only one to feel this way after driving and EV.
His Tesla Model S reportedly goes 249 miles on a full charge with Nicholas’s modest driving (never more than 10 mph over the speed limit). More impressively, he “picked the car up in [Washington] and drove it back to [Colorado] using the Tesla superchargers” and has taken multiple trips “all over … Colorado and a trip out to Iowa”. Excitingly now, this type of travel is available to more than Tesla drivers since there is both a Tesla Supercharger network and a EVgo fast charging network from the Springs.
“I have been up to Silverthorne, CO a few times and used the supercharger network to drive up and back from Colorado Springs, [it] was amazing.”
Fortunately, the break that EV charging (usually 20-40 minutes from a Tesla supercharger) provides much needed bathroom and snack breaks for his kids. An opportunity that many can choose to take advantage of creatively.
Pictured above is Nicholas’s Tesla parked at Crystal Reservoir on his way up Pikes Peak.
Nicholas was nice enough to answer a few questions for us about why he decided to go electric.
What encouraged you to buy an EV? I want to help in changing the future being concerned about our impact on the climate and break away from fossil fuel dependence.
Where do you usually charge? I usually plug in overnight while parked in my garage and charge off a nema14-50 50amp plug at 29 miles per hour.
What EV did you buy and why? I bought a used 2014 midnight blue Tesla Model S 85kw non-performance, it was the only EV that was large enough for my family and had the range and charging infrastructure for long distance road trips and the safest.
How far do you drive each day? 80 to 100 miles typically on weekdays, more on weekends.
**This is much more than the 25 travel miles per day for the average person.**
Is it the only car for you/your family? No we have a 2005 Dodge Neon as well, but [we] hope to replace it with another Tesla Model S when we can afford to do so.
What are your estimated savings? In the short term none as it did cost quite a bit more to purchase than I would have otherwise spent on a car, but in the long run a lot.
Saving are $120 in gas monthly and $120 in oil changes yearly, also has saved us around $2,740 for this year in [fuel costs].
Since getting the car in May, Nicholas has driven over 10,000 miles. He tends to drive more than he did with a gas vehicle due to it being a very pleasant experience overall.
Also, Nicholas here only takes into account oil change savings, but there are many other breakdowns that one avoids with not using a gas fueled engine. Plugincars.com estimates a 2 cent per mile savings, adding up to a 35% decrease in maintenance costs over time, from switching to an electric vehicle from a combustion engine.
Any big issues with the car? No, just small things that were fixed under warranty like a sticking sunroof and failing taillight seals.
Would you have done anything differently? Bought it sooner if I could have!
Additional thoughts? Love the car and love long distance driving in it, much less exhausting since you are not being constantly vibrated by a traditional engine, you don't realize this until you have driven long distance and [I] am amazed at the difference in fatigue level at the end of a day of travel.
With the growing rates of evolution and infrastructure, EVs are not as limited as previously thought. Nicholas helps showcase how EVs can actually be liberating on long road trips and not only usable but preferable for everyday use.
If you are interested in learning more EV, there are multiple resources available for you here at Refuel Colorado, Fleet managers can contact an Energy Coach (Southern Colorado Clean Cities for Colorado Springs) one on one technical information, your local EV dealerships, and other platforms online such as Charge Ahead Colorado. Locate public fueling stations, information on EVs and charging at Alternative Fuels Data Center hosted by the Department of Energy or learn more about what happened at Drive Electric Week by researching #EVgiddyupCO on social media platforms. If you want to hear more EV epiphany stories in Colorado Springs, meet up with Colorado Springs EV Club at their Pikes Peak Hill Climb event this Saturday!