Electricity Laws and Incentives in Colorado
The list below contains summaries of all Colorado laws and incentives related to electricity.
Advanced Industries (AI) Accelerator Program Grants
The Accelerator Programs promote growth and sustainability in Colorado's AIs. Grants may be available for advanced industries such as vehicle and component manufacturing and biofuels. Four types of grants are available, including Proof of Concept, Early-Stage Capital & Retention, Infrastructure Funding, and AI Exports. For more information on each grant program, including eligibility requirements and how to apply, see the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade's Advanced Industries Accelerator Programs website.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Weight Exemption
Gross vehicle weight rating limits for AFVs are 2,000 pounds greater than those for comparable conventional vehicles, as long as the AFVs operate using an alternative fuel or both alternative and conventional fuel, when operating on a highway that is not part of the interstate system. For the purpose of this exemption, alternative fuel is defined as compressed natural gas, propane, ethanol, or any mixture containing 85% or more ethanol (E85) with gasoline or other fuels, electricity, or any other fuels, which may include clean diesel and reformulated gasoline, so long as the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission determines that these other fuels result in comparable reductions in carbon monoxide emissions and brown cloud pollutants. (Reference Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-508 and 24-30-1104 (2)(c)(III)(A))
Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Infrastructure Grant Program
The Colorado Energy Office (CEO), the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC), and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), have partnered to provide grants through the ALT Fuels Colorado program for new electric vehicles and compressed natural vehicles fueled exclusively by 100% renewable natural gas. Additional funding may be available for electric vehicle supply equipment. CEO will administer the station grants to advance infrastructure development along major state-wide transportation corridors. RAQC will administer the vehicle grants for fleets operating within counties with air quality nonattainment and maintenance areas. For more information, including application deadlines and annual award amounts, see the Clean Air Fleets ALT Fuels Colorado website.
Point of Contact
Program Coordinator, ALT Fuels Colorado
Regional Air Quality Council
Phone: 303-629-5450 x280
Colorado's National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Planning
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) NEVI Formula Program requires the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to submit an EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan (Plan) to the DOT and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Office by August 1, 2022, describing how the state intends to distribute NEVI funds. Plans must be established according to NEVI guidance.
For more information about Colorado’s NEVI planning process, see the CDOT NEVI website.
Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) Plazas Program
The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) is accepting applications for the ALT Fuels Colorado Electric Vehicle (EV) DCFC Program. Priority locations are near downtown areas, high-density housing, commercial developments, transit hubs, and transportation network company dense areas. Awardees must provide five years of continuous use. Eligible applicants may receive grants up to 80% of project costs at each proposed location. There will be two rounds of funding, and total funding will not exceed $4,000,000. For additional information, including requirements and funding availability, see the CEO EV DCFC Plazas Program website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Tax Credit
Qualified EVs titled and registered in Colorado are eligible for a tax credit. Light-duty EVs purchased, leased, or converted before January 1, 2026, are eligible for a tax credit equal to the amounts below, per calendar year:
|Light-duty EV||$2,500 for purchase or conversion; $1,500 for lease||$2,000 for purchase; $1,500 for lease|
|Light-duty electric truck||3,500 for purchase or conversion; $1,750 for lease||$2,800 for purchase; $1,750 for lease|
|Medium-duty electric truck||$5,000 for purchase or conversion; $2,500 for lease||$4,000 for purchase; $2,500 for lease|
|Heavy-duty electric truck||$10,000 for purchase or conversion; $5,000 for lease||$8,000 for purchase; $5,000 for lease|
Tax credits for conversations are available until January 1, 2022. The credit amount for any qualifying truck is limited to the difference in manufacturer’s suggested retail price between the qualifying truck and a comparable truck that operates on either gasoline or diesel fuel. The credit that may be claimed for converting a truck to a qualifying truck is limited to the cost of conversion.
Eligible purchased vehicles must be new, and eligible leased vehicles must have a lease term of not less than two years. A purchaser may assign the tax credit generated through the purchase, lease, or conversion to any of the above categories of vehicle to the financing entity, allowing the purchaser to realize the value of the tax credit at the time of purchase, lease, or conversion. The financing entity may collect an administrative fee of no more than $150.
For more information, see the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Income 69 FYI publication.
(Reference Colorado Revised Statutes 39-22-516.7 and 39-22-516.8)
Electric Vehicle (EV) and EV Charging Station Grants
The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) and Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) provide grants through the Charge Ahead Colorado program to support EV and EV charging stations adoption by individual drivers and fleets. Both CEO and RAQC grants will fund 80% of the cost of EV charging station, up to $6,000 for a fleet-only Level 2 station, $9,000 for a dual port Level 2 station, up to $35,000 for a direct current fast charging (DCFC) EV charging station, and up to $50,000 for a charging station capable of 100kW or higher charging. Eligible DCFC stations must have both CHAdeMO and SAE CCS J1772 connectors and be capable of providing at least 50 kilowatts to one vehicle.
CEO administers grants outside the Denver Metro Area while RAQC administers grants inside the Denver Metro Area. Eligible EV charging stations applicants are local governments, including school districts; state/federal agencies; public universities; public transit agencies; private non-profit or for-profit corporations; landlords of multi-unit dwellings; and owners associations of common interest communities. For vehicle funding, priority will be given to organizations that are excluded from the Colorado Innovative Motor Vehicle Credit. Criteria and eligibility differ depending on which agency provides funding. For more information, including application deadlines, see the Charge Ahead Colorado Grant Application website.
(Reference Colorado Revised Statutes 24-38.5-103)
Point of Contact
Program Coordinator, ALT Fuels Colorado
Regional Air Quality Council
Phone: 303-629-5450 x280
Electric Vehicle (EV) and Infrastructure Coaching Service
The Colorado Energy Office's ReCharge Colorado program (ReCharge) works to advance the adoption of EVs and installation of charging infrastructure in Colorado. ReCharge provides coaching services to consumers, local governments, workplaces, and multi-unit dwellings to help them identify monetary savings, grant opportunities, and other EV benefits. ReCharge also helps build local stakeholder support for EVs. For more information, see the ReCharge Colorado website.
Electric Vehicle Emissions Inspection Exemption
Vehicles powered exclusively by electricity are exempt from state motor vehicle emissions inspections. For more information, see the Air Care Colorado website. (Reference 1 Code of Colorado Regulations 204-11 Rule 2)
Impact Assistance Program for Public Fleets
The Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) offers funding for the incremental cost of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) and alternative fueling infrastructure for public fleets. Eligible entities include municipalities, counties, and special districts. For more information, see the DOLA Energy Impact Assistance Fund Grant website.
Laws and Regulations
Alternative Fuel Resale and Generation Regulations
A corporation or individual that resells alternative fuel supplied by a public utility for use in an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) is not subject to regulation as a public utility. Additionally, a corporation or individual that owns, controls, operates, or manages a facility that generates electricity exclusively for use in AFV charging or fueling facilities is not subject to regulation as a public utility provided that the electricity is generated on the property where the charging or fueling facilities are located and the electricity is generated from a renewable resource. For the purposes of this definition, alternative fuel is defined as propane, liquefied natural gas, compressed natural gas, or electricity. (Reference Colorado Revised Statutes 40-1-103.3)
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Registration
Upon registering a motor vehicle with the Colorado Department of Revenue Division of Motor Vehicles, the vehicle owner must report the type of alternative fuel used to operate the vehicle and whether the vehicle is dedicated to one alternative fuel or uses more than one fuel. The Department of Revenue provides forms for the purpose of registering motor vehicles and must include space for the following fuel types: gasoline, diesel, propane, electricity, natural gas, methanol/M85, ethanol/E85, biodiesel, and other. For more information, see the Colorado Department of Revenue Division of Motor Vehicles website. (Reference Colorado Revised Statutes 42-3-113)
Clean Energy Career Program
The State Council and the Department of Natural Resources must create an industry driven energy sector career pathway for implementation before the 2022-2023 academic year. The energy sector includes occupations and activities relating to the development, installation, and maintenance of products or technologies in the areas of plug-in electric vehicles, electric vehicle supply equipment, hydrogen fuel cell technology, and renewable natural gas. (Reference House Bill 1149, 2021)
Climate Action Plan
The Air Quality Control Commission (Commission) must adopt rules and regulations to meet state-wide goals of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 26% by 2025, 50% by 2050, and 90% by 2050, compared to 2005 GHG emission levels. To develop rules and regulations, the Commission must identity and solicit input from communities that are disproportionally impacted by GHG pollution and environmental risk, such as minority, low-income, tribal, and indigenous populations. The Division of Administration of the Department of Public Health and Environment (Division) must report to the general assembly on a bi-annual basis regarding the progress towards the GHG reduction targets and make recommendation on future legislative actions to address climate change.
On January 14, 2021, the Division released the GHG Pollution Reduction Roadmap with recommendations to reduce GHG pollution in the transportation sector by 25% by 2025, 40% by 2030, and nearly 100% by 2050 to meet state-wide GHG emission targets. Recommendations include securing new revenue to fund infrastructure and incentives for electric cars, trucks, and buses and that the Colorado Energy Office develop an Electric Vehicle (EV) Equity Study to identify frontline communities who are disproportionately affected by transportation pollution or experience barriers to equitably access electric transportation.
(Reference Colorado Revised Statutes 25-7-102, 25-7-103, and 25-7-105)
Colorado Electric Vehicle (EV) Plan
The Colorado Energy Office, Regional Air Quality Council, Department of Public Health and Environment, and Department of Transportation created the Colorado EV 2020 Plan (Plan). The Plan calls for Colorado to be a leader in the EV market and accelerate the adoption of EVs by supporting EV infrastructure along Colorado's corridors, including:
- Creating strategies and partnerships to create EV fast-charging corridors;
- Coordinating with Regional Electric Vehicle West memorandum of understanding states;
- Developing strategic partnerships with utilities, local governments, and other stakeholders;
- Updating signage and wayfinding requirements to include EV fast-charging, and;
- Ensuring economic and tourism benefits of EV charging.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Multi-Unit Dwelling Installations and Access
A residential tenant may install Level 1 or Level 2 EV charging station at their own expense on or in leased premises. The landlord may seek a fee or reimbursement for the actual cost of electricity as well as the cost of installation or upgrades to existing equipment. In addition, the tenant may request that the EV charging station be accessible by other tenants, in which case the EV charging station must be in compliance with all applicable requirements, and the landlord may seek a fee to reserve a specific parking space. The landlord may also require the tenant to comply with safety, system registration, and aesthetic requirements or provisions.
Common interest communities must also provide residents with an opportunity to charge EVs and may not create restrictions around EV charging stations. Common interest communities are encouraged to allow EV charging stations and to apply for grants from the Electric Vehicle Grant Fund or otherwise fund the installation of EV charging stations on common property as an amenity for residents and guests.
(Reference Colorado Revised Statutes 38-12-601 and 38-33.3-106.8)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations Funding Authorization
The Colorado Community Enterprise, a government-owned business, is authorized to implement grant, loan, or rebate programs for EV charging stations. Funding may be issued for the following:
- Public, workplace, transportation network company, and multi-unit dwelling EV charging station installations;
- EV charging station installations for communities, including disproportionately impacted communities;
- EV charging stations for medium- and heavy- duty electric vehicles (EVs) including, electrified refrigerated trailers;
- Networks and plazas of direct current fast charging (DCFC) infrastructure; and,
- Infrastructure needs to support the powering of hydrogen fuel cell motor vehicles.
(Reference Senate Bill 260, 2021)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Fee
EV owners must pay an annual fee of $50, in addition to other registration fees, for a EV decal. For registration periods beginning during Fiscal Year 2022 and every subsequent year, the Colorado Department of Revenue is authorized to adjust the registration fee for inflation. Additionally, beginning in FY 2022, the state may collect a EV road usage equalization fee at the time of registration. Registration fees for each fiscal year are as follows:
|Fiscal Year||All-Electric Vehicle Fee||Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Fee|
Electric Vehicle (EV) Parking Regulations
Any vehicle that is not actively charging may not park in designated EV charging parking spaces. A EV is presumed to not be charging if it is parked at a charging station and is not connected to the charger for longer than 30 minutes. Some exclusions apply, including for EVs parked at lodging or airports, and between the hours of 11pm and 5am. The penalty for violation is $182. (Reference Colorado Revised Statutes 42-1-102, 42-4-1213, and 42-4-1701)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Special License Plate
The Department of Revenue must issue a special license plate for EVs. The taxes and fees for the EV license plates is the same as the amount as the taxes and fees for regular motor vehicle license plates. (Reference House Bill 1141, 2021)
Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support
California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington (signatory states) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the deployment of medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs through involvement in a Multi-State ZEV Task Force (Task Force).
By January 2021, the Task Force will develop a multi-state action plan to support electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The Task Force will consider actions to accomplish the goals of the MOU, including limiting all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sales in the signatory states to ZEVs by 2050. The signatory states will also seek to accelerate the deployment of medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs to benefit disadvantaged communities and explore opportunities to coordinate and partner with key stakeholders.
For more information, see the Medium- and Heavy-Duty ZEVs: Action Plan Development Process website.
Public Electric Utility Services Authorization
Public electric utilities may provide electricity to charge electric vehicles (EVs) as unregulated or regulated services and may recover the costs of distribution system and infrastructure investments to accommodate EV charging. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (Commission) should consider revenues from charging EVs in the utilities service territory in evaluating the retail rate impact from the development of EV charging stations, which cannot exceed 0.005% of the total annual revenue requirements of the utility.
Public electric utilities are required to file an application with the Commission for widespread transportation electrification programs every three years. Programs may include investments or incentives to facilitate the deployment of customer- or utility-owned EV charging stations and associated electrical equipment, facilitate electrification of public transit and other vehicle fleets, rate designs or programs that encourage EV charging, and customer education, outreach, and incentive programs that increase awareness of transportation electrification.
(Reference Colorado Revised Statutes 40-1-103.3, 40-3-116, and 40-5-107)
Regional Electric Vehicle (REV) West Plan
Colorado joined Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming (Signatory States) in signing the REV West memorandum of understanding (MOU) to create an Intermountain West Electric Vehicle (EV) Corridor that will make it possible to seamlessly drive an EV across the Signatory States' major transportation corridors.In 2019, the Signatory States signed a revised REV West MOU to update their EV corridor goals based on progress to date. Signatory States are committed to:
- Educate consumers and fleet owners to raise EV awareness, reduce range anxiety, and increase EV adoption;
- Coordinate on EV charging station locations to achieve a consistent user experience across Signatory States;
- Use and promote the REV West Voluntary Minimum Standards for EV charging stations and explore opportunities for implementing the standards in Signatory States;
- Identify and develop opportunities to incorporate EV charging stations into planning and development processes such as building codes, metering policies, and renewable energy generation projects;
- Encourage EV manufacturers to stock and market a wide variety of EVs within the Signatory States;
- Identify, respond to, and collaborate on funding opportunities to support the development of the plan; and
- Support the build-out of direct current (DC) fast charging stations along EV corridors through investments, partnerships, and other mechanisms.
State Agency Alternative Fuel Use and Vehicle Acquisition Requirement
The Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration (DPA) requires all state-owned diesel vehicles and equipment to be fueled with a fuel blend of 20% biodiesel (B20), subject to the availability of the fuel and so long as the price differential is not greater than $0.10 more per gallon as compared to conventional diesel. Biodiesel is defined as fuel composed of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from plant or animal matter that meets ASTM specifications and is produced in Colorado.
Additionally, DPA has adopted a policy to increase the use of alternative fuels and establish objectives to increase its use for each succeeding year. DPA must purchase motor vehicles that operate on compressed natural gas (CNG), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or vehicles that operate on other alternative fuels, subject to the availability of vehicles and adequate fueling infrastructure and assuming the incremental base or life cycle cost of the vehicle is not more than 10% over the cost of a comparable dedicated conventional vehicle. DPA has adopted a policy to allow some vehicles to be exempt from this requirement if available alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) do not meet application requirements.
On or before November 1 of each year, DPA must submit a report to the general assembly outlining vehicle purchases, including alternative fuel and conventional vehicles; alternative fueling infrastructure availability in the state; AFV purchase exemptions; administrative policies in place to facilitate the purchase of AFVs; suggested changes to facilitate the gradual conversion of the motor vehicle fleet to AFVs; and a plan for the necessary infrastructure development.
Transportation Electrification Workgroup
The Transportation Electrification Workgroup (Workgroup) will develop, coordinate, and implement state programs and strategies to support transportation electrification in Colorado. The Workgroup will report to the governor on an annually on progress made towards the goals.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, along with the Workgroup, will revise the state Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for allocating funds from Colorado's portion of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. The revised plan will focus all remaining eligible funds on supporting transportation electrification.
(Reference Executive Order B 2019 002, 2019).
Transportation Impacts Stakeholder Group
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will convene and engage with a stakeholder group comprised of representatives of potentially affected entities to examine and address impacts of new transportation technologies and business models. The topics include funding transportation infrastructure needed to support the adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) and incentivizing the adoption of ZEVs for use in commercial applications. CDOT reported on the progress and policy recommendations of the stakeholder group during the 2019 presentation to legislative oversight committees and implement actions by October 1, 2020. For more information, see the 2019 Emerging Mobility Impact Study. (Reference Colorado Revised Statutes 43-1-125)
Vehicle Fleet Maintenance and Fuel Cost-Savings Contracts
Government fleets may finance the lease or purchase cost of alternative fuel vehicles and alternative fueling infrastructure through energy performance contracts where vehicle operational and fuel cost savings pay for the capital investment. Energy performance contracts must show that the annual cost savings associated with the fueling and maintenance of vehicles with higher efficiency ratings or alternative fueling methods is equal to or higher than the annual contract payments. (Reference Colorado Revised Statutes 24-30-2001 through 24-30-2003 and 29-12.5-101 through 29-12.5-104)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Sales Requirements and Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Standards
Colorado established ZEV standards, pursuant to Colorado’s authority under Section 177 of the Clean Air Act, Title 42 of the U.S. Code, section 7507. The rule will be adopted into the Code of Colorado Regulations before October 30, 2019, and will be effective in 2022. All Model Year 2022 and later passenger cars and light- and medium-duty vehicles must meet California motor vehicle emissions and compliance requirements specified in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations. For more information, see the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment LEV Standards website. (Reference Executive Order B 2019 002, 2019 and 5 Code of Colorado Regulations 1001-24)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Transportation Plan
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), along with the Transportation Electrification Workgroup, will develop a ZEV and clean transportation plan containing strategies that support the deployment of ZEVs and expand mobility options to save energy, reduce congestion, and improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network. In April 2020, CDOT released the Colorado Electric Vehicle (EV) Plan 2020, establishing a long-term goal of 100% of light-duty vehicles (LDV) being electric and 100% of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles being ZEVs. To meet these goals, Colorado must:
- Increase the number of light-duty EVs to 940,000 by 2030;
- Develop plans for transitioning medium-duty (MDV), heavy-duty (HDV) and transit vehicles to ZEVs;
- Develop an EV infrastructure goal by undertaking a gap analysis to identify the type and number of charging stations needed across the state to meet 2030 LDV, MDV and HDV goals;
- Develop a roadmap to full electrification of the light-duty vehicle fleet in Colorado;
- State government agencies must meet directives and goals related to EVs.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Incentive – Holy Cross Energy (HCE)
HCE offers free or discounted EV charging stations for residential and commercial customers, respectively. For more information, including how to apply, see HCE’s Charge at Home and Charge at Work websites.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Rebate - Gunnison County Electric Association (GCEA)
GCEA provides rebates to residential customers toward the purchase of Level 2 EV charging station. Eligible customers who purchase and install EV charging stations can receive a rebate of 70% of the cost of the EV charging stations, up to $500. To qualify, applicants must also sign up for a time-of-use rate. For more information, see the GCEA EV Charging Station Rebate website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Rebate - San Isabel Electric Association (SIEA)
SIEA offers customers rebates for the purchase and installation of Level 2 EV charging stations and direct current fast charging (DCFC) stations.
|Technology Type||Incentive Amounts|
|Non-Networked Level 2||50% of eligible costs, up to $500|
|Networked Level 2||50% of eligible costs, up to $1,000|
|DCFC with 50 kilowatt (kW) Peak Output||50% of eligible costs, up to $3,000|
|DCFC with 100kW Peak Output||50% of eligible costs, up to $5,000|
For more information, including how to apply, see the SIEA Electric Vehicle Education website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Support
Colorado utilities joined the National Electric Highway Coalition (NEHC), committing to create a network of direct current fast charging (DCFC) stations connecting major highway systems from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific of the United States. NEHC utility members agree to ensure efficient and effective fast charging deployment plans that enable long distance EV travel, avoiding duplication among coalition utilities, and complement existing corridor DCFC sites. For more information, including a list of participating utilities and states, see the NEHC website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Loan Program – Gunnison County Electric Association (GCEA)
GCEA members have the opportunity to borrow an EV for one week without any cost or mileage restrictions. For more information, including how to apply, see the GCEA Electric Vehicle Program website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebate - San Isabel Electric Association (SIEA)
SIEA residential customers a $500 rebate for the purchase of qualified EVs. For more information, including how to apply, see the SIEA EV Education website.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebate - Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy offers income-qualified residential customers a $3,000 rebate for the purchase or lease of a used EV, and $5,500 rebate for the purchase or lease of a new EV. Income-qualified residents are households with income levels equal to or below 60% of the Colorado's median income that are currently enrolled in one of Colorado's financial assistance programs such as the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP). Eligible EVs must be purchased or leased from a Colorado dealership. For more information, see the Xcel Energy EV Rebate website.
Non-Residential Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Rebate – Black Hills Energy
Black Hills Energy offers non-residential customers rebates for the purchase and installation of Level 2 EV charging station. Rebates are available in the following amounts:
|Technology||Customer Type||Rebate Amount|
|Level 2||Non-residential||Up to $2,000 per port|
|Level 2||Government and non-profit organizations||Up to $3,000 per port|
For more information, including application details, see the Ready EV website.
Residential Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebate – Black Hills Energy
Black Hills Energy offers residential customers a $500 rebate for the purchase and installation of a Level 2 EV charging station. For more information, including application details, see the Ready EV website.
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