Colorado Says No to EV Chargers at State Capitol Building


“Electric cars are welcome at the Colorado Capitol – but not the machines used to charge them.”

That’s the opening line from a recent article published by CBS Denver.

Reserved For EVs and the Lawmakers Who Drive Them

Reserved For EVs and the 3 Lawmakers Who Drive Them

A proposal was put forth recently in Colorado to allows charging stations at the state’s Capitol building.  The legislative committee did not approve the proposal.


According to CBS Denver, the committee concluded that:

“…tax money shouldn’t be used if the devices are accessible only to the two lawmakers and one state staffer who now drive electric vehicles.”

The Capitol has parking set aside for “100 lawmakers and certain executive officers,” according to CBS Denver.  Those reserved spots are used whenever the legislators are in session.  Currently, two Nissan LEAFs and one Chevy Volt occupy three of the 100 parking spots.  The idea was to provide chargers for those three plug-in vehicles and to possibly add more charging stations in the future when there’s demand for them.

Electricity would not have been free.  The three plug-in drivers would have been required to pay for, at minimum, the electricity their vehicles consumed.

The proposal outlined a minimum and maximum cost scenario.  Up to $30,000 would have been required to get one dual-point charger and one single-point charger installed.  Supporters of the proposal were going to pursue donations to cover the vast majority of those costs, thereby limiting the amount the taxpayers would pay.

Leader of the proposal, Representative Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins, stated:

“Putting electric vehicle charging facilities in the parking circle would send a message to citizens that the state of Colorado is serious about offering alternatives.”

As CBS Denver reports:

“The electric car vote was taken in the Capital Development Committee, a panel of six lawmakers who must approve any change to the Capitol grounds. The Committee’s 3-3 tie vote on electric car chargers means lawmakers didn’t give permission for their installation.”

“The committee was not asked to commit to buying the chargers, which would have been a separate discussion by others.”

We’re not entirely sure which side of the fence we sit on for this one, as the chargers would have been installed in reserved parking spots.

We’ll leave this one up for you to decide…

Source: CBS Denver

Categories: Charging, General


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31 Comments on "Colorado Says No to EV Chargers at State Capitol Building"

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If they chargers were go to into reserved parking, then they should just use a “dumb” charger like one you’d see at a Nissan dealership that requires no card. That would cut the cost significantly, then just bill the person for the energy used or a rough estimate of how much they would use each month.

If it’s a private spot, then the person who wants that spot can pay for the charger. Or maybe a percentage of it, since they will not work there forever. Or they could go in on it with the others to share a spot.

And maybe instead of just a couple chargers (whatever the plan was) they should have put in 10, and that would have encouraged others to buy an EV besides the 3 that own them. If the work is being done, might as well maximize the efforts. Also the installation cost could have been spread across 10 chargers.

These possibly could have been L1 chargers too to save some $, but haven’t done the math to see if its negligible to just go to L2.

It sort of depends. The main cost difference with a long run of cable is going to be the gauge of wire. However, lets say you’re happy with 12 amps (the same you’d get from an L1 unit at 120V) then it technically shouldn’t cost any more money to put a 240V station there that also is limited to 12 amps. That way the same sized cable could be used. At 12 amps, a level-2 station would deliver 2.8Kw or probably around 8.5 miles per hour.

That would still be a heck of a lot better than 120V charging, with almost no difference in cost.

I think the L2 chargers cost a bit more than the L1 chargers too, but would have to do some googling to find the prices.

There’s also cost of updating the panel feeding the chargers, if it’s not set up for those kinds of loads.

It’s been said before, and I’m gonna say it again: Put in 120V outlets. They’re cheap and will give a significant charge to these cars for a typical business day.

Yes absolutely, but in the same time a somewhat higher voltage and power socket would not be that much more expensive either. The same kind as those used for supplying power to temporary local events like markets, fairs or other happenings.

Priusmaniac, you are right on technology, but wrong on politics. Installing 120V outlets everywhere does not even attract attention. 240V outlets look super dangerous to people who have never travelled outside the USA. I do not know that the committee would have approved that, but my sense is that the chances would have been better.

I guess most of the people has a dryer? so they had seen a 220V outlet

A lot of people have a natural gas dryers. They are more efficient and much, much cheaper to run than electric dryers

Well to clothes efficiency is higher I guess, hehe. As I am not in favor of Indian Point Nuclear (where the vast majority of the juice usually goes toward massachusetts), I’m not going to argue the point. I don’t know what CON-ED charges for GAS but its got to be a better value than their confiscatory electric rates.

Depends actually. My solar system generates a little more than I anticipated; the kW*h it (over)produce are paid to me 5.8c.
At such rates, a gas dryer would be more expensive.

When it comes to low running costs though, I found nothing better than this type:

Not always as fast as gas or electric, but super-gentle to clothes (and my wallet, and the planet).
Regardless of the dryer, the much higher RPM at which front-load washers typically spin helps quite a bit also…


Aaron I’m a huge supporter of educating facilities managers that 120v outlets are all they need to install.

I agree with Aaron. Keep it simple and go with 3 120V outlets.
I will go one further. Put them in some of the least desirable spots in the lot, i.e. the ones you have to walk to the back of the lot to get to. Less chance of getting ICE’d and no whining about favoritism. Let the first 6 users pay a fee to have the privilege of charging commensurate with the wholesale cost of putting the plugs in ($80 each person?) and then have them pay $20 a month for the electricity. No free lunch.
But then watch the demand grow as more people buy BEV’s and EREV’s.

Agreed, Aaron. All we need are outlets. 120, 240, whatever! Just put in a few outlets!

If they wanted to “send a message” about supporting EV charging, then putting some free chargers in publicly accessible AND frequently used places would be better. I like the idea of putting 120V chargers in too, if they are legally limited to only putting the chargers on government property. As Aaron said, 8 hours of 120V is plenty; I recharge my LEAF that way at home.

The chargers are n the car. But putting in publicly accessible outlets doesn’t fit the narrative of, “Electric cars are welcome at the Colorado Capitol – but not the machines used to charge them.” More education needed.

Interestingly, there is currently a grant from the Colorado Energy Office to cover 80% up to a max of $6,000 for installing chargers, so they are already sending a positive EV message.

I have to wonder, do these 3 people really need to charge during the day? They currently don’t charge while at work, or have figured out how to charge off of 120V from existing outlets.

The Volt obviously will make it home every day without daytime charging, because they can just use the gas engine.

For the rest, there appears to be about half a dozen charging stations within walking distance from the capitol building, some of which are even free charging stations. So they have options if they really need to charge if every once in a while they have longer travel they need to do.

If anything, any additional charging should be publicly available. But the capitol building itself doesn’t have any public parking at all. You have to park at paid parking lots away from the capitol building, or use on-street metered parking around the building. So this might be an example of a place that isn’t suitable for the govt installing charging stations, and the focus should be on charging stations elsewhere nearby, but not right at the capitol building itself.

Those 3 ppl obviously don’t need it since they are making it work now, but workplace charging leads to more EV adoption. Thus my suggestion for installing 10 stations. Even if they had installed just 2 stations, when those people no longer work there, there would still be a couple places to charge at work, that may allow someone that commutes from farther away to purchase an EV.

The murky part is the $ and who pays for what? (especially since it’s the gov, and people get crazy when it comes to spending THEIR tax dollars).

Oh i was going to mention the problem w/using a public charger vs. a workplace charger is it’s not reliable. It could be being used, or worse, ICE’d. If you rely on that charge to get home, you’re screwed.

10 chargers in a 100 car parking lot that is reserved for 100 elected officials would be an insane waste of resources. It would practically force the local news networks to run the “it’s your money being wasted” type of stories, where they show the chargers sitting empty or ICE’d all the time. Especially if the folks who already have PEV’s don’t even need them.

That’s the last thing Colorado needs. Colorado is just trying to keep the EV tax credits we already have. Doing anything to undermine programs like that, for relatively little return, would be ill advised.

But what if 7 more people got EV’s and all 10 were being used everyday? Can’t always be “glass is half empty”, (even though this is the internet).

Oh, and in my scenario it wasn’t using tax $ to pay for the chargers. So taxpayers don’t have anything to cry about.

Exactly NIx. This goes to my standard argument that Level 1 is all that is needed at workplaces. An eight hour shift is long enough to top off, oh wait….. I forgot for a moment these are lawmakers, they usually only work two or three hours a day…..

+1 Nix. Took a lot of reading to find a thread that I agreed with. Y’all are too full of Kool-Aid if you think this is the right place to spend some EV charging (or promotion) money. These 3 people probably said, “everyone should be able to charge while they work. Starting with… of course… ME!”

Put them in front of MY office. Put a sticker on them saying “Free Juice! Courtesy of your fellow taxpayer, and those with the power to give you their money.” When they have every taxpayer charging at work… assuming they [and we] still have jobs at that time… they could resubmit their proposal to wire their own parking lot.


If you read the article instead, you’ll have noted that said juice would not have been free, and that promoters of this installation were trying to fund at least part of it privately.

Personally I think public charging should always be made to cost more than home charging, so as to naturally regulate its use.
Now to effectively enable commutes longer than the range of the vehicle, which maybe was what those guys were claiming was needed, charging availability (or an acceptable back-up, such as L3 nearby) must also be guaranteed. On public lots, this could take the form of a reservation system, e.g. à la Chargepoint, where the fee to hold a station is the same as if you were actually using it. You want the privilege, you pay for it; say 2$/h.

I’m actually not a great fan of public L2 chargers, either at taxpayer expense (because the government has done more than enough with the credits), or at the user expense (because they are too slow to do a lot of good, the prices usually rival those of gas, they are a source of frustration of getting ICE’d, the list goes on). The lack of same would keep the pressure on battery tech to increase range so that we can continue to charge in our garages while increasing the utility of the cars. There is one in front of a store (at which I never shop), about 2 blocks walk from the store where my wife gets our groceries. I have used it a few times just to get 30 cents worth of free juice while she shops. If I don’t join her, I feel like an idiot that I have let a 30 cent freebie cause me to choose not to be with her. Or if I do join her, I feel like an idiot for walking so far in the cold just to save 30 cents. Cut an extra coupon and park with everyone else. Otherwise I have never… Read more »
MikeJ — Yes, if the govt is going to spend money on chargers, it would be much better to spend it to install public chargers at the Court House, just a few blocks away. That would service people who own EV’s who might be called to jury duty, or witnesses of crimes who have to come and testify, etc. Which is probably why chargers have already been installed there. Another good place would be the Denver City and County building, were people have to go to do business, which is located just on the other side of a park from the Capitol Building. Again, that is probably why there is already a set of chargers there too. Another legitimate place that would serve the public, and not just lawmakers would be in the parking garage for the Public Library and the Denver Art Museum. That is also on the south side of that same park. Again, that is probably why there is already a set of chargers there. The same goes for the largest multi-story public parking garage that services that area. It already has a charger, conveniently located a block away from the free 16th street mall bus route… Read more »

You can smoke a joint here, but the state will not allow you to charge your climate friendly car!

Don’t get lost in the weeds. The issue here is not pro vs anti – EV. It is public vs private. If the Colorado legislators had wanted to encourage EV use they would have requested the chargers be placed where the public could use them. Instead, they went out of their way to request something for their own private use, at the public’s expense. No brainer.