On Thursday, August 16, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) took the first step toward establishing the Colorado Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) program, incorporating the requirements of the California LEV program. This is in response to an Executive Order from Governor Hickenlooper to maintain progress on clean vehicles despite the activity at the federal level to roll back the clean car standards.
The California program, also commonly referred to as the Advanced Clean Cars program, includes a zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate. The ZEV mandate essentially requires that any automaker wishing to sell gas cars in the state must also sell a certain percentage of EVs (or purchase credits from other automakers representing the percentage). After a lengthy hearing on Thursday, with support for adopting the ZEV mandate expressed by numerous Coloradans and businesses, the AQCC also voted unanimously to examine adopting the ZEV mandate too. Plug In America strongly supports this action by the AQCC.
Plug In America collected stories from our Colorado EV drivers on how each driver purchased his/her EV and shared these with the AQCC. Thanks to everyone who submitted a story! This allowed us to make a strong case that consumers do want these clean cars, but that Coloradans have a very hard time finding the cars, test driving the cars and making the final purchase in Colorado. Hence, the ZEV mandate would address these challenges by requiring automakers to sell EVs in the state.
As for next steps, the AQCC will hold a rulemaking hearing in November for the LEV standards, and a rulemaking hearing in March for the ZEV mandate.
There are nine other states that have adopted the full California Advanced Clean Cars program. Should Colorado adopt the ZEV mandate, the state would join the ranks of the following states leading in EV adoption: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.
More information on the Colorado process can be found here.