Colorado Fast Charging Corridor

November 19, 2020

Colorado Fast Charging Corridor

The Col­orado Ener­gy Office recent­ly began unveil­ing charg­ing sta­tions at their Elec­tric Vehi­cle Fast-Charg­ing Cor­ri­dors. These EV fast charg­ers are great news for Col­oradans wish­ing to explore the more rur­al and off-the-I-70-cor­ri­dor areas of the state. “Cor­ri­dor A” was among the first to start open­ing up with a loca­tion in Dinosaur, Col­orado, and we decid­ed to take our fam­i­ly on a road trip that had pre­vi­ous­ly proven too tricky to man­age in an EV. We head­ed to Dinosaur for two nights. One was spent at a near­by hotel which con­ve­nient­ly had a pair of charg­ers for guests, and the sec­ond on a back­pack­ing trip in Dinosaur Nation­al Mon­u­ment. So to make things crys­tal-clear, the charg­ing sta­tion pro­vid­ed by the C.E.O. and Mof­fat Coun­ty made this trip pos­si­ble. We sim­ply would not have made it had that charg­er not been there, and we’re real­ly glad it was!

After a great first overnight back­pack­ing trip in the Mon­u­ment with our fam­i­ly of five, we head­ed to the pair of DC fast charg­ers, which were con­ve­nient­ly locat­ed at the Col­orado Wel­come Cen­ter in Dinosaur. This would nor­mal­ly be a super con­ve­nient loca­tion with restrooms right there, but we hap­pened to be there on a Mon­day when the Cen­ter was closed. How­ev­er, there is a gas sta­tion across the street that made things easy enough for bath­rooms (and some snacks). It was a sun­ny and crisp day, and we were able to use the pic­nic tables right next to the charg­ers for our lunch.  Our car, a Tes­la, need­ed an adapter in order to use the ChaDe­Mo cables (a night­mare of a trade name short for “Charge De Move”). The pair of charg­ers also sup­port­ed the CCS fast-charg­ing stan­dard, but there is not yet a CCS adapter avail­able for Tes­la vehicles.

Unlike gas or diesel vehi­cles which are like­ly to be “filled up” dur­ing a refu­el­ing stop, EV dri­vers often use a slight­ly dif­fer­ent strat­e­gy to max­i­mize their time and effi­cien­cy. Rather than charg­ing to 100%, EV dri­vers often charge just enough to get to their final des­ti­na­tion or the next charg­er (often with a con­ser­v­a­tive buffer for “just in case” sit­u­a­tions). This strat­e­gy is used to reduce the time spent at a charg­er, because in the inter­est of bat­tery health, the final 10–15% of a fast-charg­ing charg­ing ses­sion goes quite slow­ly. The charg­ers at the Col­orado Wel­come Cen­ter were fast enough that by the time we used the restrooms and had some lunch, we had more than enough juice to make it back to Grand Junc­tion with a healthy buffer.

Now that we’ve extolled the virtues of these super-use­ful and con­ve­nient­ly locat­ed fast-charg­ers, can we talk about the name? The Col­orado Ener­gy Office Elec­tric Vehi­cle Fast-Charg­ing Cor­ri­dor sys­tem is a bureau­crat­ic name-by-com­mit­tee that could use a seri­ous rebrand (Col­orado Charge? Charge Up Col­orado? Lit­er­al­ly ANYTHING ELSE?). Com­bined with geo­graph­i­cal­ly-mean­ing­less names (Cor­ri­dors A, B, C, D, E, and F) instead of fun and more mean­ing­ful place names makes me won­der just who estab­lished these names, and are they even real Col­oradans? Just a brief glance at their map betrays more use­ful pos­si­bil­i­ties such as North­west, Uncom­pah­gre, San Juan, Metro, Gun­ni­son, South­east, and Prairie cor­ri­dors. It’s not too late though! C.E.O. folks…are any of you read­ing this?

Minor brand­ing quib­bles aside, we real­ly appre­ci­at­ed hav­ing this new option avail­able to us, and look for­ward to explor­ing more of this charg­ing net­work in the more far-flung cor­ners of the state. A sin­cere thank-you to every­one involved in cre­at­ing this system!

By: Aaron Hoffman

Aaron Hoffman's Tes­la Mod­el X charg­ing at a DC Fast Charg­er in Dinosaur, Colorado.

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