Written By: The CSU EcoCAR 3 Communications Team
The Colorado State University Vehicle Innovation Team has the great privilege of participating in a competition that fuels both innovation and a drive to reduce the environmental impact of passenger vehicles. In addition to that, we are very lucky that we live in Fort Collins, Colorado – a city that shares our goals of innovation and clean energy. Here are six reasons why Fort Collins is a great place for electric vehicles (EVs).
- EV proliferation here is higher than the national average
According to Drive Electric Northern Colorado (DENC), EV sales in the northern Colorado region were a whopping 42 percent higher than the national average in 2013. At the peak, EV sales were up to 71 percent greater than the national average!
- The EV infrastructure is here and improving
EV owners sometimes experience the feeling of “range anxiety” where they fear their charge won’t last to their destination. The issue is less prominent in Fort Collins where an ever-increasing infrastructure of charging stations exists. There are 20 charging locations dispersed throughout the city, including 10 chargers at five locations on CSU’s campus, two of which are the Powerhouse Energy Campus where CSU EcoCAR 3 is located. The city is also in the process of installing two stations in the downtown area.
- The city is all about greener transportation methods, as demonstrated by the recent MAX project
The MAX is a new transportation system in Fort Collins that makes it easy for people to go anywhere down the city’s main street, College Ave. A Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, the MAX combines features of rail transit with the flexibility of buses. In a seven-month span in 2014, the MAX transported over 550,000 riders. That is 550,000 times that someone opted for public transport over driving their conventional vehicles.
- People here care about the environment
In a brand summary report from the last decade, citizens of Fort Collins perceived themselves and the city as environmentally friendly and active in the community. This translates into their actions as well. People often opt for alternative forms of transportation in order to reduce their carbon footprint. The Coloradoan reported that people in Fort Collins bike to work at 11 times the national average. In fact, some local companies, such as New Belgium Brewery and JAX Sporting Goods, offer incentives to their employees for biking to work. Overall, 75 percent of the people of Fort Collins perceive the city’s conservation efforts as good or very good given 2008 numbers.
- Even the buildings here are green
The city of Fort Collins, a mid-sized city of 150,000 had 42 LEED certified constructions as of November 2013, and that number has increased. Among those LEED certified buildings is the Powerhouse Energy Campus – the location of CSU EcoCAR 3 operations. The Powerhouse is LEED Platinum certified, equipped with rooftop solar panels, exterior insulation, vertical axis wind turbines, custom LED lighting, and a number of other features earning its certification.
- CSU is the most sustainable school in the world
No big deal or anything, but last year, CSU became the first institution in the world to earn a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) platinum rating. With 962 credit courses involving sustainability, 90 percent sustainability engagement in research, 17 LEED certified buildings, and a number of other factors; this ranking is not all surprising.