Editorial | Fort Collins and Loveland mayors support regional electric vehicle initiative - Drive Electric Northern Colorado

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Editorial | Fort Collins and Loveland mayors support regional electric vehicle initiative

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Official Support Statement from Mayor Karen Weitkunat of Fort Collins and Mayor Cecil Gutierrez of Loveland

Weitkunat    Gutierrez
As the mayors of Fort Collins and Loveland, we are always looking for new ways to move our communities forward. We are proud to announce that our cities are jointly leading an effort to make Northern Colorado the national leader in electric vehicle deployment.

Drive Electric Northern Colorado (DENC) will turn Fort Collins and Loveland into the leaders of an electric vehicle (EV) movement. The goal of the initiative, officially being launched next week, is to get citizens of our cities to use electric vehicles.

DENC is about creating a convenient and concentrated ecosystem able to support electric vehicles as an attractive choice for drivers of all walks of life. It will empower members of our local communities – from individual citizens to restaurants, car dealerships, shopping centers, the Fort Collins and Loveland municipalities, and others – to lead the way.

Let’s say you’re in the market for a new car, and one of the main factors in your decision is saving money on gas. You know that you can reduce your gas bill to zero by purchasing an electric vehicle,but you also have questions. You have a 20 mile commute to the office every day – will the vehicle’s charge last long enough to get you there and back? What’s it like to drive an electric vehicle? What about the sticker price – are there tax credits to help offset the higher upfront cost? What do current electric vehicle drivers have to say?

DENC is about providing solutions to such problems, and answers to such questions.

As this effort moves forward, citizens will begin to see a robust framework supporting EVs in the region. Shopping centers will feature free charging stations so that patrons can charge their vehicle while they shop. Workplaces will also install chargers. Special EV-only parking will be available. Many of our local businesses will be offering promotions to test-drive an EV. Educational resources and EV enthusiast groups will help individuals learn more about EV technology, the different vehicle models available, maintenance, tax breaks, and special purchase options.

We are excited to be the first in the nation to undertake this type of coordinated community effort because of the benefits that it will bring to our region. Despite lower gas prices, in 2012 Americans spent a greater percentage of their income on gas than ever before; DENC will create new opportunities for families to completely eliminate spending on gasoline. As eco-sensitive Coloradans know, every gallon of gas burned on our highways also spits harmful particles into our mountain air; every gas-powered vehicle replaced by an electric vehicle will decrease CO2 emissions. Many local businesses are still feeling the impact of the recent economic recession; DENC will help support businesses looking to cut costs, improve efficiency, and decrease their carbon footprint by using electric cars and trucks in their vehicle fleets.

Additionally, using electric vehicles helps fight America’s dependence on oil. The nation’s transportation sector depends on oil for 93% of its fuel, tying our economy to the highly unpredictable global oil market. DENC will blaze a trail for oil alternatives in the transportation sector, insulating our economy from the oil market and freeing our military of a heavy burden.

It is DENC’s plan, in a year’s time, to feature our progress to communities across the nation so that they, too, can “electrify.” Let’s show the country how it’s done.