By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) — Thousands attend the Denver Auto Show to sit in their dream cars, but event organizers say half of attendees actually plan on buying a car in the next few months. Some lawmakers are hoping those prospective buyers consider an electric vehicle.

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“In 2018, we had the highest level of fuel efficiency in the auto industry, but it wasn’t high enough,” said Tim Jackson, President of Colorado Automobile Dealers Association.

Jackson says automakers are required by federal mandate to improve fuel efficiency every year. He says an easy way to do that is produce zero emission vehicles.

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The proposed Colorado Clean Pass Act would let EV drivers, who pay a registration fee, ride free in HOV lanes and all other express lanes for half price. Drivers would pay $35 when they register their car to get a transponder.

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The state is also aware of the fear some electric car owners have on road trips.

“With EV, we have range anxiety. Range anxiety is the fear of not being able to get to your destination or not being able to charge it if you do,” explained Jackson.

The proposed Electric Vehicle Grant Fund would help pay for more charging stations around the state, especially in rural areas.

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“Charging is actually more common than gas, we’re just not used to it,” KP Smith, Nissan Product Specialist. Smith showed CBS4’s Tori Mason a feature inside the Nissan Leaf that shows drivers where charging stations are.

In parts of Denver, it’s easier to plug in than fill up.

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“I see eight charging stations within eight blocks of us, and I don’t think there’s a single gas station on the map,” said Smith, pointing to downtown.

Car buyers ask a lot of questions, but when it comes to EV, Smith says there were more naysayers than negotiators. Now, it’s more questions than concerns.

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“The first few years, people were like ‘what is this?’ They had all their reasons why not. In the last couple of years, people are saying ‘Tell me more about it. I’ve heard about it, how would it fit my life?’” said Smith.

You can learn more about electric vehicles and hundreds of other vehicles at the Denver Auto Show inside the Colorado Convention Center.

DENVER AUTO SHOW HOURS:

Wednesday, March 27: 5 – 10 p.m.
Thursday, March 28: 12 –10 p.m.
Friday, March 29: 12 –10 p.m.
Saturday, March 30: 10 a.m.– 10 p.m.
Sunday, March 31: 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.

ADMISSION

Adults: $14; Children (6-12): $7; Children (under 6): FREE
Military Day—Wednesday, March 27: FREE admission (appropriate military ID required)
Senior Day—Thursday, March 28: Any guest 65+: $7 (ID required)
All prices include service fees charged by AXS Ticketing and the City of Denver.

Tori Mason