Western Colorado EV Club and Tesla Club

November 18, 2020

Western Colorado EV Club and Western Colorado Tesla Club

We pur­chased our first EV in Feb­ru­ary 2016, and after dri­ving it for a few months, noticed we were often bump­ing into oth­er EV dri­vers at charg­ing sta­tions. When we did so, we found that there was nev­er a short­age of con­ver­sa­tion about charg­ing times, range, charg­ing sta­tions, clean ener­gy, and the gen­er­al love of dri­ving elec­tric. I noticed it wher­ev­er I went, any­time there was anoth­er EV dri­ver near­by, I found that I was nev­er with­out a friend. So, I decid­ed to take it to the next lev­el: I start­ed a Face­book group in 2018. 

In real life, it’s hard to find EV dri­vers unless you hang out at pop­u­lar charg­ing sta­tions. But in Face­book world, con­nec­tions are made more quick­ly as friends and acquain­tances con­nect. The West­ern Col­orado EV Club Face­book page grew quick­ly and pret­ty soon, we had enough crit­i­cal mass to flex our EV mus­cles and par­tic­i­pate  in our first car show. The Down­town Grand Junc­tion car show is free for atten­dees, and usu­al­ly takes place in Sep­tem­ber, along the tree-lined, ser­pen­tine Main Street in Down­town Grand Junc­tion. It’s a beau­ti­ful set­ting for a car show, and attracts rather large crowds of peo­ple show­ing off mus­cle and clas­sic cars. 

Being a for­mer Down­town Grand Junc­tion employ­ee, I had con­nec­tions at the Down­town office, and asked for per­mis­sion to have a small sec­tion of street for what I called “Elec­tric Avenue” at the Down­town Car Show. The first year, we had rough­ly 13 EVs and plug-in hybrids on dis­play (with own­ers present to answer ques­tions). These ran the gamut from a “home­made” Maz­da Mia­ta EV con­ver­sion to Chevy Volts and Bolts, to Nis­san Leafs, to the Tes­la S, X, and 3 on dis­play. That first year, we got lots of side­ways glances and “What are you doing here?” looks among a sea of clas­sic and mus­cle cars and trucks. How­ev­er as we con­tin­ued to attend the event in 2019 and 2020, we start­ed to notice that the pub­lic was real­ly start­ing to pick up on the val­ue propo­si­tion of dri­ving electric…that you could dri­ve tens of thou­sands of miles with lit­tle to no main­te­nance, that you could charge in the con­ve­nience of your garage, and that elec­tric­i­ty is way cheap­er than gas or diesel (espe­cial­ly when paired with solar pan­els). The pub­lic was par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in the range of the EVs and the amount of time spent charg­ing. It was great to see the spark of real­iza­tion in their eyes when we talked about things like charg­ing overnight in a garage and nev­er vis­it­ing a gas sta­tion again, or when they under­stood that EVs can, in fact, be dri­ven on long road trips. 

The event gained in pop­u­lar­i­ty, and by now Elec­tric Avenue feels like a “reg­u­lar” part of the car show. In fact, the orga­niz­ers at Down­town Grand Junc­tion even give an “Elec­tric Avenue” award for the most pop­u­lar EV. In 2020, one of the clas­sic car par­tic­i­pants not­ed that the “Elec­tric Avenue” sec­tion of the car show had been the busiest sec­tion of the car show by far. She was appre­cia­tive that she was parked next to the Teslas!

Our West­ern Col­orado EV Club con­tin­ued to grow and meet togeth­er on Face­book and in per­son as we made it our goal to advo­cate for and edu­cate about EVs. In ear­ly 2019, we also start­ed an offi­cial West­ern Col­orado Tes­la Club, as the demo­graph­ics in our EV club start­ed to reflect Tesla’s dom­i­nance in the EV mar­ket. In-per­son events are cur­rent­ly chal­leng­ing due to COVID, but in addi­tion to par­tic­i­pat­ing in the car show, mem­bers have tes­ti­fied in front of the Col­orado state sen­ate on behalf of EV-friend­ly poli­cies, and we try to meet every month for events. Some of these are vir­tu­al, and some include phys­i­cal­ly-dis­tant events includ­ing dri­ves through Col­orado Nation­al Mon­u­ment, trips to dri­ve-in movies, and small­er car shows in oth­er parts of West­ern Colorado. 

Find the West­ern Col­orado EV club on Face­book and the West­ern Col­orado Tes­la Club at WestCOTeslaClub.org.

By: Aaron Hoff­man with photos/video from Ben­jamin Westby

A BMW i3 and a Chevy Bolt at a West­ern Col­orado EV Club car show. 


Mem­bers of the West­ern Col­orado Tes­la Club dri­ve on Rim Road of the Col­orado Nation­al Monument. 

West­ern Col­orado Tes­la club

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