Electric Vehicle License Plate Bill

July 30, 2021

Electric Vehicle License Plate Bill

Updat­ed, July 29, 2021: This bill was suc­cess­ful­ly passed and signed on 6/25/21 with sup­port from rep­re­sen­ta­tives Edie Hooton, Alex Valdez, and Jeff Bridges, and was devot­ed $91,636 for use by the divi­sion of motor vehi­cles. This bill was assigned to the Col­orado House Ener­gy and Envi­ron­ment Com­mit­tee. There were some com­mit­tee mem­bers who did not want the license plate to be manda­to­ry. How­ev­er,  the manda­to­ry require­ment remained through sev­er­al iter­a­tions and changes to the final bill, and it did pass out of com­mit­tee. At that point it went for vote to the entire leg­is­la­ture where it passed in both cham­bers, and was then signed by Gov­er­nor Polis to become law. By pass­ing, this allows the Depart­ment of Rev­enue to go into the next phase of license plate pro­duc­tion and DMV pro­cess­ing. Cur­rent­ly, the plate is under­go­ing a final draft design review (updat­ed draft pic­tured below, right) and will need to meet state require­ments before it moves into the pro­duc­tion phase. The main changes to this license plate were replac­ing the elec­tric vehi­cle plug with a light­ning bolt, as rep­re­sen­ta­tives felt this was a more clear and sim­ple rep­re­sen­ta­tion of an elec­tric vehi­cle. While the time­line is still uncer­tain, dri­vers can expect to see this license plate on the road with­in a year. It will auto­mat­i­cal­ly be giv­en to indi­vid­u­als who pur­chase a new EV, but indi­vid­u­als may also opt for a van­i­ty plate instead. Those with exist­ing EVs should be able to request one of the new EV plates as well.

Bill LeBlanc spoke with us about an excit­ing new piece of leg­is­la­tion that he’s been think­ing about for the past five years and work­ing on since Octo­ber of 2020: the Elec­tric Vehi­cle License Plate Bill. From the draft­ed leg­is­la­tion, this bill “estab­lish­es the elec­tric vehi­cle license plate, which is issued for use on plug-in elec­tric motor vehi­cles. The elec­tric vehi­cle license plates are issued to the own­er of a plug-in elec­tric motor vehi­cle upon reg­is­tra­tion of the vehi­cle and pay­ment of applic­a­ble fees and tax­es, unless the own­er elects an alter­na­tive license plate.” This license plate will be the default plate giv­en to all new elec­tric vehi­cle own­ers when they reg­is­ter, but indi­vid­u­als can also opt for oth­er plates. There are no addi­tion­al fees oth­er than a reg­u­lar license plate reg­is­tra­tion, unless the indi­vid­ual opts into a per­son­al­ized plate instead.

When Bill got a Nis­san LEAF in 2013, there was no sig­nage or mark­ing that indi­cat­ed it was an elec­tric car, so oth­er dri­vers and pas­sen­gers had no aware­ness of it unless they were already famil­iar with the LEAF. The idea for this bill was birthed behind the con­cept of mak­ing every elec­tric vehi­cle a ‘mobile bill­board’ of sorts to adver­tise the elec­tric vehi­cle ‘brand’ as a whole. When peo­ple become more famil­iar with a car, they’re more like­ly to buy one and are also more like­ly to fol­low what their neigh­bors and com­mu­ni­ty are doing rather than diverg­ing on their own path. An elec­tric vehi­cle license plate is a solu­tion to bring aware­ness to this issue.

In the sum­mer of 2020,E Source, the com­pa­ny Bill works for, was hired by the Col­orado Ener­gy Office to con­duct deep EV con­sumer research and devel­op an Edu­ca­tion and Aware­ness Roadmap for Col­orado. By hav­ing par­tic­i­pants iden­ti­fy between pho­tographs of elec­tric and gas-pow­ered cars, they found that only 9% of Col­oradoans were very famil­iar with elec­tric vehi­cles, aside from Tes­la mod­els. This sur­vey includ­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tion from all areas and ranges around Col­orado includ­ing low­er-income pop­u­la­tions, demon­strat­ing the lack of edu­ca­tion and aware­ness many Col­oradoans face regard­ing the elec­tric vehi­cle land­scape. It is the hope that if and when this bill pass­es, that it will accel­er­ate elec­tric vehi­cle adop­tion to reach the CEO’s goal of 940,000 elec­tric vehi­cles on the road by 2030.

The first draft of the EV license plate.
Sec­ond draft of the license plate that is going into final review (July 2021).

A pro­to­type design of what the license plate might look like fea­tures an elec­tric vehi­cle plug and charg­ing cord lead­ing into the sun set­ting into the moun­tains below Colorado’s blue skies. The charg­er, a reg­u­lar house­hold plug, dis­plays the abil­i­ty of an elec­tric vehi­cle to be plugged into a reg­u­lar 110v out­let (the same out­let you’d use to charge a phone or plug in a TV, for exam­ple) and attempts to dis­pel the myth that elec­tric vehi­cles are con­fus­ing to charge. The plug lead­ing to the sun denotes a con­nec­tion to solar ener­gy that can be used to pow­er elec­tric vehi­cle charg­ing and the blue skies con­nects elec­tric vehi­cles with the improved air qual­i­ty and clean, clear air.

The bill is still in the process of get­ting through the leg­isla­tive ses­sion but is like­ly to be signed by June and will then need to be signed by Gov­er­nor Polis to pass. To sup­port this bill as an indi­vid­ual, you can call or email your local rep­re­sen­ta­tive in favor of it. If you are part of an orga­ni­za­tion that sup­ports this bill, you can write a let­ter to Bill endors­ing it.

As a 501(c)(3) non­prof­it oper­at­ing in Col­orado, we do not lob­by or attempt to influ­ence legislation.

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