Colorado Could See More Electric Vehicles Under Deal With The Auto Industry

Chevrolet Volt charges at station
David Zalubowski/AP
A Chevrolet Volt plugged into a charging station Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Denver. 

Colorado auto dealers may have more electric vehicles in their lots next next January, if the state Air Quality Control Commission approves a deal announced late Monday.

The Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado Energy Office, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers struck a deal on the state's plan to adopt California's zero-emission vehicle mandate. The deal comes after an earlier attempt failed last month.

California has stricter emissions standards than the federal government. If Colorado adopts that standard, auto manufacturers here would be required to make electric cars account for almost 5 percent of their vehicles for sale by 2023.

Auto manufacturers wanted that requirement to be voluntary. Under the deal announced Monday, manufacturers will get an incentive for making more models available to consumers.

“The electric vehicle market is maturing rapidly as automakers invest in more electrified models, and this agreement will ensure that Coloradans have access to the range of clean car choices that are increasingly available to consumers in other states," CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew said in a statement.

The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission is set to take up the matter in two weeks.

In a statement, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers said they were glad to have found a path forward.

“We are extremely appreciative that the Polis administration worked with automakers and other stakeholders to find an innovative alternative regulatory proposal that will implement the ZEV program in Colorado," the statement said.

The Trump administration has said it wants to roll back federal emissions standards set by the Obama administration. But just last week, four auto makers made a deal with California to produce fleets averaging about 51 miles per gallon by 2026.