Colorado unveils new electric vehicle charging stations in state parks

Media Contacts
Rex Wilmouth

Former Senior Program Director, Environment Colorado

Gov. Jared Polis plugs in ‘Recharge Where You Recharge’ program

Environment Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. —  Starting a program that could be a model for other states, Gov. Jared Polis and the Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) department unveiled Friday the first electric vehicle charging station at a Colorado state parks. The EV charger at Cheyenne Mountain State Park is one of at least 84 planned through theRecharge Where You Recharge program championed by Environment Colorado.  The electric vehicle company Rivian will install a minimum of two charging stations at each of 42 CPW locations, and will pay for their installation and maintenance for up to 25 years.

“Finally, Coloradans won’t have to choose between having an electric vehicle and visiting the parks they love,” said Rex Wilmouth, senior program director for Environment Colorado. “We need to have charging infrastructure in the same places we escape to for relief. “Environment Colorado is excited that every state park will install electric vehicle chargers and make it easy for visitors to recharge their vehicles while they recharge their souls in nature.”

Colorado is known for its great outdoors and more than 19 million visitors took advantage of its state parks in 2020. However, their natural state is threatened by air pollution and climate change-fueled heat and drought. Between 1970 and 2015, the average fire season in the United States expanded by 78 days, according to the U.S. Forest Service. This past year,Colorado experienced some of the worst forest fires in recent memory — and a new Forest Service fire outlook says, “Above normal significant wildland fire potential is expected across southern portions of the Rocky Mountain Area (RMA) March through June due to the persistence of above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation.”

“We want the Colorado we know and love to be the Colorado our kids know and love in 30 years,” said Wilmouth. “A crucial first step is addressing transportation —the largest source of global warming emissions in Colorado and the United States as a whole. Making sure we have enough chargers to expedite the statewide and nationwide transition from gas guzzlers to electric vehicles will help.”

Though electric cars are growing in popularity, consumers are still concerned about finding a place to charge. Colorado has made a commitment to expanding the use of electric vehicles, with a goal of nearly 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030. But EV sales far outpace the installation of charging stations, so Colorado needs to rapidly build out its EV infrastructure.

“With federal money from the bipartisan infrastructure bill heading to Colorado, we have a once in a generation chance to reimagine what our transportation infrastructure should look like — and have the money to pay for it. We can’t waste this opportunity,” said Wilmouth. “And when Colorado gets done making sure people here can ‘recharge where they recharge,’ this idea can be one of our state’s greatest exports.”