Plug-in vehicles gaining traction in Glenwood Springs market
Clean Energy Economy for the Region
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — This region has a reputation for being forward-thinking on energy efficiency. Both Glenwood Ford and Berthod Motors sell hybrids, and Bighorn Toyota’s sales of hybrids are some of the highest of all Toyota dealers in the state.
But prior to this year, buyers wanting to get a more advanced electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid from a major automaker had to go to Grand Junction or Denver.
Now, plug-in vehicles are in the local mix.
In early 2013, Bighorn Toyota had a plug-in Prius on the lot, one of a just a few plug-in Priuses for sale since a majority are sent to dealers in California. Bighorn currently does not have any in stock, but the dealership can fill orders, according to Bighorn’s Ed Rosenberg.
David McDavid, owner of the High Country Honda dealership being built in Glenwood, said he plans to offer Honda’s EV and PHEV products as soon as they are available in the state.
With the opening of Mountain Chevrolet in Glenwood Springs, area residents now have a new location for sales and service of American-made plug-in vehicles. The new dealership is selling one of the most energy efficient and best-loved cars in U.S. history — the Chevy Volt. The dealership recently started advertising the 2013 Chevy Volt EV for $23,890 (after a $4,000 rebate, $7,500 federal tax credit, and a state tax credit of “up to” $6,000). The price is expected to drop in 2014, according to autoblog.com.
According to Dennis Davis of Mountain Chevrolet, the dealership has sold five Volts in the last four months and serviced many others from out of the area.
“The Volt has the highest customer satisfaction score of any vehicle in history according to J.D. Powers,” Davis noted. “Everyone who has driven the vehicle becomes a spokesperson. Our owner, Michael Payne, is dedicated to the full Chevrolet line, including the alternative fuel models. In fact, his demonstration vehicle is a Volt that he drives from Snowmass Village every day. He comes from Snowmass to Glenwood Springs on all electric power [less than half the charge] and only uses gas on part of his return trip.”
Autoblog reported last year that “Chevy says that the Volt can drive almost 900 miles on average before needing more gasoline, and one driver, Andrew Byrne of Los Angeles, said that he was able to drive 1,900 miles between fill-ups.”
Mountain Chevrolet opened in December 2012 and the facility was designed with alternative fuel vehicles in mind — the building includes solar charging stations for the Volt and Spark EV.
According to Mike Ogburn, energy engineer for Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER), driving 10,000 miles per year on electricity will raise the average home electric bill by only $25 per month.
“The cost per mile to drive an electric car is about 75 percent less than the cost of driving an gasoline car,” he said.
In June, the Department of Energy launched the eGallon website that shows how buying electricity for an EV is like paying $1.18 for gasoline. See http://www.energy.gov/articles/egallon-how-much-cheaper-it-drive-electricity for more information.
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