On May 6, 2019, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Colorado Energy Office (CEO) responded to a proposal from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (“Alliance”) to advance zero emission vehicle (ZEV) goals in Colorado. Rulemaking is currently underway by the state’s Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC), in response to an Executive Order issued by Governor Polis in January, to consider adopting a ZEV standard which, if adopted, would require automakers to increase the percentage of ZEV vehicles they sell in Colorado each year through 2025.
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The Alliance proposal, presented as a potential alternative to a ZEV standard, is designed to increase the availability of electric vehicle models beginning in 2020, increase access to hybrid vehicles, support marketing and sales, and advance ZEV infrastructure investment and deployment.
According to Will Toor, Director of the Energy Office, “Colorado is committed to a fast, large scale shift towards electric vehicles – this is essential to cleaning up the ozone pollution in the front range and tackling climate altering greenhouse gas emissions. We are open to considering an alternative path to a ZEV standard- but only if it is going to get more EVs on the road, earlier and faster. In the meantime, we urge the AQCC to move forward with the ZEV rulemaking, to keep us on track for timely adoption of a ZEV standard if we are unable to reach an agreement that would accelerate adoption even faster than a regulatory standard.”
CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew stated, “CDOT is unwavering in our commitment to accelerating the tremendous progress that our state is seeing with respect to ZEV adoption. It is of the utmost importance that we act boldly and aggressively to reduce congestion in the air and on the road — both through a cleaner fleet of vehicles and through providing more sustainable and efficient transportation choices for citizens that help stem currently projected increases in vehicle miles traveled. We appreciate the manufacturers’ interest in working collaboratively with us to see if an out-of-the box approach could help us achieve our ZEV goals faster, and we must ensure that any proposed solution can deliver results and meet the test of rigorous analytics.”
Colorado’s response highlighted several key areas that would need to be negotiated:
Model availability to ensure that Coloradans have full access to ZEV vehicles and hybrids for companies where EVs are not yet being produced;
Automaker investments in marketing, consumer incentives, and EV infrastructure, potentially through a third party and in partnership with the public sector and other industry sectors;
A push to expand use of assignable tax incentives. It is very important for Colorado to see multiple financing entities, representing a significant share of the Colorado market, build assignability into their financing offerings;
Clearly articulated metrics and enforceability.
Colorado’s response also highlighted that no agreement would prevent the state from vigorously enforcing its adopted Low Emission Vehicle standards, opposing the Trump administration attempt to weaken vehicle fuel efficiency and carbon pollution regulations, or fighting any attempts to reduce state authority to adopt vehicle emissions standards
The State will explore the Alliance’s proposal in parallel to the ZEV rulemaking, which will continue to proceed on an independent path. The response proposes that the State and Alliance engage in up to 4 weeks of negotiation. If this is successful, the State would facilitate an independent, rigorous evaluation of the effects of a voluntary agreement, as compared to the proposed regulation. The State will make any resulting proposal available for public review prior to submitting a final recommendation to the AQCC about which path to pursue.
Colorado is committed to a zero-emission vehicle future, and is deeply interested in finding the best solution that achieves that goal. According to CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew, “we’re open to any alternative that guarantees more vehicles that Coloradans want, sooner. More affordable options and SUVs with all-wheel drive will do very well in Colorado, and we want to make sure our drivers have the choice to buy them.”
The AQCC will hold a meeting on May 10, 2019, at which time it will vote on whether to schedule a public hearing regarding whether to adopt the zero emission vehicle rule this summer.
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