DENVER (CBS4) – It just got a little easier to keep an electric car running in Denver. One of the city’s very first charging stations is now up and running at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
There’s a growing interest in the electric vehicles, but it’s a challenging road ahead for them.
Barney Feinblum, the co-founder of Alfalfa’s Market, just bought a new electric delivery van.
“You got a meter here that reads in miles and a gauge that when it says full is really full of juice,” Feinblum said while showing his van’s interior to CBS4 Environmental Specialist Paul Day.
Feinblum wants his company to be a role model for customers who care about the environment.
“Alfalfa’s has always felt it was important to be a good corporate citizen,” he said.
The Alfalfa’s van is part of a rollout of five transit connect vans partially subsidized by Xcel Energy. The utility was thanked by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock after the city received two of the vans. Another goes to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, while Xcel keeps the fifth one.
The very first EV charging station available to the public outside of Denver International Airport is now at the Museum of Nature & Science. If just two vehicles fill up there daily instead of at the gas pump, the air pollution reduction is impressive, according to the museum’s curator, Whitey Hagadorn.
“It’s going to take about 55,000 of these black bags worth of carbon dioxide out of the air every year,” Hagadorn said.
Electric vehicles have much lower operating costs per mile than gas-powered vehicles, but range is limited — just 70 miles for Feinblum’s van while the battery recharge time is more than 6 hours.
“Well the key is being able to have the ability to charge not just at home, so you have to have the infrastructure which right now is pretty lacking,” Feinblum said.
So the new charging station means the ball is finally rolling. Plugging in there means the EV owner also gets the best parking spot at the museum.
A public-private partnership is working on ways to make ownership of electric vehicles more feasible in Denver.