West Slope campaign promotes electric vehicle sales

Six Western Colorado automobile dealerships sold a total of 38 electric and hybrid vehicles in the latest campaign offering discounts and test drive events.

Red Rock Nissan in Grand Junction participated in the 90-day campaign, along with Audi Glenwood Springs, Berthod Motors, Bighorn Toyota, Mountain Chevrolet and Phil Long Honda all in Glenwood Springs.

Clean Energy Economy for the Region, a public benefit group based in Carbondale that offers clean energy services and programs in Western Colorado, organized the campaign.

Matt Schmigelsky, an electric vehicle expert with CLEER, said 23 buyers purchased all-electric vehicles, while 15 more buyers purchased plug-in hybrids that run in electric or gasoline modes.

Schmigelsky attributed increased interest in all-electric vehicles to the increased range of the 2018 Nissan Leaf, positive reviews for the Chevrolet Bolt and the pending release of the 2019 Audi E-Tron.

While about 15,000 electric vehicles are registered in Colorado, sales have grown 50 percent to 60 percent a year.

The growing number of public charging stations in the region also has helped, he said. An additional 33 fast-charging stations are planned for sites across Colorado.

A $5,000 state tax credit remains in effect through 2019 for all-electric and plug-in electric models. A federal tax credit of $7,500 also is available, although tax credits for the Bolt and Volt are expected to fall in 2019 and expire at the end of the year.