Ditching Gas: The Ins and Outs of EV Ownership in Colorado

Colorado has earned its spot as the #1 state for EV adoption thanks to an expanding charging network, attractive incentives and a culture focused on sustainability. But for many drivers, going electric still seems like unfamiliar territory. As a long-time EV analyst and owner, allow me to map out everything you need to navigate this exciting new landscape of personal transportation.

Charging Infrastructure Powers Colorado‘s EV Boom

Supporting over 60,000 electric vehicles on the road (and counting!) is a vast and rapidly growing charging ecosystem across Colorado. Let‘s break it down:

Charger TypeLocationsSpeedNotes
Home Level 1Single family homes2-5 mph chargeSlow but cheap overnight charging
Home Level 2Single/multi family homes10-20 mph chargeFaster daily charging, installation required
Public Level 2Retail, workplaces, etc10-20 mph chargeTop off battery while shopping/working
DC Fast ChargeHighway corridors50-150+ mph chargeRapid charging for road trips
Tesla SuperchargerAlong major routesUp to 200 mph chargeReserved for Tesla vehicles

You‘ll notice strings of fast charging stations along interstates 25, 70, 76 and 70. These high-speed plugs are crucial for enabling long distance EV travel. Meanwhile, a mix of slower Level 2 stations in cities provide daytime charging access while at work or running errands.

I drive a 2022 Ford Mustang Mach E with 270 miles of range. My typical routine is slow overnight charging at home to start each day topped off, then hitting up a 150 kW fast charger like Electrify America for 20-30 minutes while grabbing a bite if I need a boost. This gives me tremendous flexibility to road trip or commute without range anxiety.

Surveys show Colorado EV drivers are very satisfied with our charging options – giving an A- grade for reliability and ease of finding stations. With continued investments, expect over 5,000 public charging outlets in the state by 2025.

How Much Does it Cost to Charge an EV in Colorado?

I love waking up to a "full tank" every morning in my Mach E without visiting the gas station. But how much does it actually cost to power an EV in Colorado? As an Xcel Energy customer, my electricity rate is $0.13 per kWh. Based on the Mach E‘s extended range battery size, a full charge from 20% to 100% costs me just over $10. What a bargain!

To put that in perspective, filling up a comparable gas powered SUV like the Ford Explorer with its 18 gallon tank at current $3.50/gallon prices in Colorado costs $63. More than 6X as expensive as my EV to cover the same mileage.

Savings add up quickly for EV drivers. Based on average U.S. driving habits, Mach E drivers save over $1,000 yearly on "fuel" costs compared to the Explorer. Plus, cheaper maintenance on EVs with fewer mechanical parts and no oil changes push total cost lower over the life of ownership.

If relying solely on public chargers, costs can vary quite a bit by station. Pricing is based on charging speed, demand-based rates during peak hours, membership plans and roaming fees charged by some networks. Generally, expect to pay 2-4X the residential electricity rate for public charging. Apps like PlugShare, Chargepoint and Electrify America can map stations with price comparisons to simplify planning stops on the go.

One public charging perk for savvy EV owners is taking advantage of promotional incentives and membership plans. For example, Electrify America‘s $4 monthly plan includes $250 in free charging credits along with discounted rates when traveling. This stretches my road trip budget significantly!

No matter how you slice it, going electric saves Colorado drivers serious green while supporting sustainable transportation.

Breaking Down Ownership Costs of Top Colorado EVs

Still debating which new EV best fits your lifestyle? I‘ve put together handy comparisons of 3 top selling electric models to help buyers estimate charging infrastructure needs and cost considerations.

2023 Nissan Leaf

MSRP starting at $28,895 / Available tax credit up to $7,500

  • Battery Size: 40 kWh
  • Max Range: 130 miles
  • 0-80% Charge Time:
    • Level 2 Charger: ~8 hours
    • 50 kW DC Fast Charger: 45 minutes
  • Home Electricity Cost: $5.20 to full charge
  • DC Fast Charge Session: approx $13.75

As the pioneering mainstream EV dating back to 2010, the Nissan Leaf has opened the door to mass adoption with an attainable price point. Its smaller battery size and range capabilities make the Leaf best suited to localized driving and access to home/workplace charging. Frequent fast charging sessions can impact long term battery health. Overall operating costs remain low.

2023 Tesla Model Y

MSRP starting at $53,990 / Available tax credit up to $7,500

  • Battery Size: 82 kWh
  • Max Range: 330 miles
  • 10%-80% Charge Time:
    • Level 2 Charger: Overnight
    • Tesla Supercharger: 25 minutes
  • Home Electricity Cost: $10.60 to full charge
  • Supercharger Session: approx $12-18

Tesla‘s industry leading supercharger network caters to road warriors who demand maximum range and charging speed. Lower cost than any competing fast charging network. Large battery size enables overnight home charging for daily local driving. Ideal for Colorado adventure seekers.

2023 Ford F-150 Lightning

MSRP starting at $51,974 / Available tax credit up to $7,500

  • Battery Size: 98-131 kWh
  • Max Range: 230-320 miles
  • 10-80% Charge Time:
    • Level 2 Charger: 10-15 hours
    • 150 kW Fast Charger: 44 minutes
  • Home Electricity Cost: $12.74-$16.83 per full charge
  • Fast Charge Session: approx $21-28

America‘s best selling truck electrified – equipped to haul serious cargo or your family‘s outdoor gear while generating zero emissions. Large battery capacity means high electricity consumption but technology innovations like bidirectional charging allow the Lightning to even power a home during an outage! DC fast charging for trucks has some catching up to do on pricing.

Data Sources: EV Adoption, PlugShare, AAA, Electrify America, Ford, Nissan, Tesla

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