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Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations

Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations

The City of Boulder is committed to promoting electric vehicle usage and charging stations. The Boulder SmartGrid Plug-In Electric/Hybrid Vehicles project is the only one of its kind in the nation.

Did you know that there is EV advising available to walk you through what options are right for you, including tax savings and charging options? Contact EnergySmart for one-on-one help to answer questions, assess your needs and receive expert advice from a non-sales person.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Boulder

Map of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Boulder

City-Operated Public Charging Stations

  • Chautauqua Ranger Station (2 stations)
  • 15th and Pearl Parking Garage (6)
  • Boulder Reservoir (2)
  • East Boulder Community Center (2)
  • North Boulder Recreation Center (2)
  • South Boulder Recreation Center (4)
  • 1300 Canyon (6)
  • Boulder Junction Garage (2)
  • Alpine/Broadway Garage (6)
  • Open Space and Mountain Parks Annex (2)
  • Municipal Service Center (2)
  • 10th and Walnut Parking Garage (4)
  • 11th and Walnut Parking Garage (2)
  • 14th and Walnut Parking Garage (2)
  • 13th and Spruce Parking Garage (2)

​Download the Alternative Fueling Station Locator App from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory or use the feature on Google maps to locate charging stations near you.

SmartGrid Plug-In Vehicles Project

The project is funded by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Project Goals

  • Increase the use of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles to help reduce U.S. dependence on imported petroleum, increase fuel economy and decrease emissions;
  • Study how the smart grid can be used for charging plug-in electric vehicles; and
  • Collect and report data so that the results can be measured and shared with other entities who are interested in providing smart grid charging solutions for plug-in electric vehicles.

The technical analysis of electric vehicles, plug-in charging stations, solar photovoltaic systems, and stationary battery storage systems will help the city determine how best to connect all of the components using building automation systems. The integrated building automation systems will provide simple and effective charging and functionality for plug-in electric vehicles.

Project Funding

The City of Boulder applied for $6 million of federal funding and was awarded $500,000 from the DOE. Other U.S. cities that applied for federal funding for electric vehicle charging stations were awarded millions of dollars in grant money. The $500,000 grant was less than the city had anticipated, but has contributed to the overall effort to increase the number of plug-in electric vehicles and charging stations in Boulder.

U.S. Department of Energy Grant

The city has focused on smart grid charging, reducing the impacts of electric vehicle charging loads on buildings, and promoting and encouraging the use of renewable energy.

The grant money has been used as follows:

  • $100,000 to purchase and test three electric vehicles;
  • $205,000 to install 12 electric vehicle charging stations;
  • $59,000 to integrate smart grid and building charging systems, connect charging stations to solar photovoltaic systems, and monitor results at eight city buildings;
  • $130,000 to install vehicle-to-grid battery storage systems;
  • $1,500 for an outreach campaign to promote the new Nissan Leaf and eGO CarShare service; and
  • $1,500 for travel expenses to promote the Boulder Smart Grid Plug-In Electric/Hybrid Vehicles project.

The city has spent the $500,000 grant from the DOE as wisely as possible and without waste. Although unexpected challenges have resulted in fewer charging stations than had been expected, the city has not given up on making more electric vehicle charging stations available in Boulder.

On average, an electric vehicle charging station costs the City of Boulder:

  • $4,000 for materials and equipment, including the charger itself;
  • $2,000 for design and permitting fees;
  • $800 for general contractor supervision of the installation;
  • $500 for contracting and construction administration; and
  • $3,000 to $16,000 for associated installation costs, including concrete work and boring for electrical utilities (this cost element varies greatly depending on the length of the electrical run required).

Incentives for Residents and Businesses

Boulder residents and businesses that install electric vehicle charging stations may be eligible for a federal tax credit* for "Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property." This may include a credit of up to $1,000 for the purchase and installation of a charging station for personal use. Additionally, federal law allows a 30 percent tax credit, capped at $30,000, for business/investment use per site.

*This credit is not available to cities, schools or other non-taxpayers.

The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) and the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) have partnered to provide an opportunity for local fleets to apply for funding to support the acquisition of electric vehicles and installation of electric vehicle charging stations. This effort to is intended to improve air quality and encourage the deployment of electric vehicles across Colorado.

Advantages and Obstacles

According the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) report on Transportation Fuels for Colorado's Future pdf:

"Due to planned improvements in Colorado's electricity generation, electric vehicles will become more efficient and less polluting every year. By 2020 they will significantly outperform gasoline and CNG vehicles."

Commercial Electric Bills
Commercial entities are typically charged for electricity in two ways: total electricity consumed and rate of electricity consumption (peak demand).

  • Total electricity consumed typically represents about 40 percent of a commercial entity's monthly bill and peak demand typically represents about 60 to 80 percent of the monthly bill.
  • Xcel energy determines peak demand based on the maximum electrical load during any 15 minute period of the monthly billing cycle.
  • An analysis of commercial electric billing showed that a 5,220 volt electric vehicle charger connected to a city building could raise the building's energy bill by as much as $750 a month.

If peak demand can be controlled, the impact of additional loads from electric vehicle chargers can be reduced.

The Boulder project is exploring ways to control peak demand, which include:

  • integrating charging stations with building automation systems to help control electric loads;
  • integrating charging stations with existing solar photovoltaic systems to make direct use of the renewable power versus selling it back to Xcel Energy at a much lower rate;
  • providing battery storage systems to store renewable energy and charge electric vehicles versus charging from the grid; and
  • providing solar powered, stand-alone charging systems with battery storage capabilities.

Since many of these systems are not currently available in the market, the associated development and engineering costs are high.

eGo CarShare

The city has leased a Nissan Leaf to eGo CarShare for one year. The new electric vehicle is available for use by both city employees and the public. The Nissan Leaf is available to anyone who signs up through eGO CarShare to rent and drive the electric vehicle. When not in use, the vehicle is parked at an electric charging station in the parking lot of Alfalfa's Market at the corner of Broadway and Arapahoe Avenue. To test-drive an electric vehicle, visit the eGo CarShare website.

Charging Stations

South Boulder Recreation Center Electric Vehicle Charging StationSolar TreeSolar TreeSolar TreeSolar TreeSolar Tree

See full photo set in the Photo Gallery

Contact

Joe Castro
Facilities and Fleet Manager
303-441-3163
[email protected]

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