Ignacio officially joined Colorado’s electric vehicle charging network Feb. 12 after the unveiling of a new charging station at Ignacio Community Library.
Colorado is pushing for residents to purchase electric vehicles as part of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Ignacio, like other towns in La Plata County and around the state, is getting ready with the help of a grant from the Colorado Energy Office.
“It’ll get us out of a charging desert,” said Ron Schermacher with the Ignacio Community Library. “There were no stations around our area at all.”
About 10 to 15 people gathered at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a Level 2 charger with dual ports.
That’s the kind that takes a maximum of four to six hours to fully charge a vehicle – less if a car rolls up with some charge left. The size of the battery and type of vehicle also affect charge times, said Laurie Dickson with 4CORE, an energy and resource conservation nonprofit.
The group even tested the charger during the event with the help of a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric vehicle. The station is free for the time being, but users will start to pay a fee this summer.
“The kind of charging they have at the library, Level 2, is ideal for businesses and workplaces because it offers incentives for employees who drive to work in their (electric vehicles),” Dickson said. “It also encourages people to get out of their car and shop or visit the community.”
Setting up a charger in Ignacio was a team effort. 4CORE connected the town with a $9,000 Charge Ahead Colorado grant, provided through the Colorado Energy Office.
The grant pays for 80% of costs of a charging station. The town of Ignacio provided the remaining money and La Plata Electric Association gave Ignacio a rebate of $2,000 to offset costs.
“The adoption in rural communities is obviously slower, especially when electric vehicles may not be readily available,” Dickson said. “It’s really important to have charging available in these rural communities.”
The station was intentionally located near the center of Ignacio so people would be able to visit local businesses while charging up, Schermacher said.
It also adds another charging station along Colorado’s newest scenic byway, the Tracks to Borders Byway, which passes through Ignacio.
Tracks to Borders follows the route of the historical 1880s Denver & Rio Grande Narrow Gauge Railroad San Juan Extension, Colorado’s first and the nation’s largest narrow-gauge railroad system, according to Visit Durango.
“Mostly, it keeps us current with these emerging technologies,” Schermacher said. “People are like, there are no electric vehicles in Ignacio. ... Well, they’re not going to come unless they have the facilities.”
Colorado aims to have 940,000 electric vehicles in the state by 2030. Large vehicle manufacturers have set targets for electric vehicle production, and the vehicles are becoming more affordable, Dickson said.
“Charging is going to be in every business parking lot in the near future because the adoption of electric vehicles is rapidly increasing,” she said.
Library staff members have already seen some people use the station and will keep track of usage to fulfill grant requirements.
“In some ways it may seem like we’re ahead of the game, but really I think we’re just kind of staying current,” Schermacher said. “This is about to take off exponentially.”