Electric Cars

Colorado to implement zero emission vehicle mandate

This is the first executive order from Colorado's new governor.

Art Escobado/Getty Images

Colorado is preparing to follow in California's footsteps in the hopes of increasing ownership of zero-emission vehicles.

Colorado governor Jared Polis announced on Thursday that he signed an executive order "supporting a transition to zero-emission vehicles." The plan includes an adoption of the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate that California and several other states have also implemented, in accordance with section 177 of the Clean Air Act, which allows other states to adopt California's stricter emissions requirements.

That's easily the biggest part of the executive order. Governor Polis has asked Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment to get a plan established by May. Colorado would become the 11th state to implement such a plan, which requires automakers to achieve certain sales targets for ZEVs.

Colorado already offers a $5,000 state-level incentive for EV purchases.

Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

The order also creates an interagency task force to flesh out and implement programs meant to push more people toward electrified vehicles. It'll report back to the governor once a year on its progress. All the aforementioned departments will also figure out what to do with the $70 million the state received as part of Volkswagen's Dieselgate settlement. The order requests that the funds be used to support electrification, including larger vehicles like school buses and trucks.

The executive order, which is available to read online in full, also mentions the state's desire to utilize 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. In addition, it claims that, based on work from a consulting firm, transitioning to EVs by 2050 on a large scale could save billions of dollars in lower vehicle operating costs, health savings and reduced electricity bills.

ZEV mandates are responsible for the term "compliance cars," which you might have heard in relation to certain electric vehicles. These are electric vehicles that exist only in states that have ZEV requirements. Some examples include the Chevrolet Spark EV, Ford Focus Electric and Kia Soul EV. But as electrification takes hold in other states without requirements, we're beginning to see more nationwide rollouts instead.

Electric vehicles: Charge into the future.

Hybrids: Not ready to take the full plunge? Hybrids are plenty good, too.