Rifle hosts first-ever electric vehicle ride and drive | PostIndependent.com

Rifle hosts first-ever electric vehicle ride and drive

Heather McGregor
Clean Energy Economy News

Drivers are invited to get behind the wheel of a plug-in electric car at Rifle’s first-ever electric vehicle ride-and-drive event on Thursday, Sept. 17.

The free event offers motorists a chance to learn about several models of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) and about options for charging at home, at work and at the growing number of public charging stations across the state and country.

Rifle’s EV Ride and Drive is set for 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Rifle City Hall and Rifle Branch Library parking lot. The event is one block from the Rifle Farmer’s Market, open the same evening.

Rifle’s ride and drive is one of 167 electric vehicle events happening across the country for National Drive Electric Week, running Sept. 12-20.

Mountain Chevrolet will show two Chevy Volts and Glenwood Springs Ford will show the Ford C-Max Energi, with knowledgeable sales staff offering test drives.

Electric vehicle experts Matt Shmigelsky of Garfield Clean Energy and Zac Sutherland of Garfield County Environmental Health will be on hand to answer questions about vehicle charging, other makes and models on the market, and the attractive state and federal tax credits offered for new plug-in electric vehicles.

Stephanie Stocking will show how to access more info about electric cars by using the Rifle Branch Library’s many resources.

“Electric vehicles are the future of passenger car transportation, and the future is here today with vehicles that are on the market now,” said Shmigelsky. Nationwide, there are more than 300,000 plug-in electric vehicles on the road today.

Plug-in electric cars that are all-electric have a range of 75 to 200 miles, Shmigelsky said, while plug-in hybrids can travel 20 to 50 miles on electricity before switching over to gasoline power. Tax credits vary, depending on the vehicle’s capacity to travel on electric power, and help offset the purchase price.

EVs are less expensive to operate, with fuel costs that are comparable to $1.10 per gallon, and less maintenance needed, he added.

Sutherland said EVs are clean burning, producing no tailpipe emissions while running on electricity. And EVs run on Colorado-produced electricity, supporting jobs on the Western Slope, he added.

Free public EV charging stations are open at Colorado Mountain College in Rifle, the Parachute I-70 Rest Area, and the Cooper Avenue parking structure in Glenwood Springs.

To drive up installation of more charging stations, the Colorado Energy Office offers grants that can fund up to 80 percent of the cost. Private sector employers, schools, hospitals, governments, and apartment buildings are all eligible for these Charge Ahead grants.

The state’s electric vehicle licensing fee funds the grant program.

“Garfield Clean Energy can offer free help for anyone seeking to apply for the grant,” said Shmigelsky.

The Rifle EV Ride and Drive event is hosted by Garfield Clean Energy, the city of Rifle, Garfield County Environmental Health, the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Rifle Branch Library. Sponsors are Mountain Chevrolet and Glenwood Springs Ford.

National Drive Electric Week is sponsored by Plug In America, Sierra Club and Electric Auto Association.

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