Snowmass Village levels up with more car charging stations |

Snowmass Village levels up with more car charging stations

Grant-funded expansion of electric vehicle program to tie into town’s long-term, ambitious climate action goals

Cars plug into all four electric vehicle charging cables available in Lot 3 in Snowmass Village on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022.
Kaya Williams/The Snowmass Sun

When it comes to climate action, “you can try to change behavior all you want,” but encouraging people to make more sustainable choices by making those choices easy is where municipalities like Snowmass Village can make “leaps and bounds,” according to Sam Guarino, who is a parking and transportation supervisor for the town and the acting staff liaison for the village’s Environmental Advisory Board.

It’s why Guarino sees new technology — like several new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations that were installed a month ago throughout the village — as “the best move we can make as far as sustainability (and) managing greenhouse gasses.”

“I think when it comes to the town’s goals for carbon emissions reduction, being able to influence people to get into electric cars, or make it easy for them to get into electric cars is going to be one of the biggest differences we can make to meeting those carbon-reduction goals,” Guarino said.

A nearly $27,000 grant from Charge Ahead Colorado helped fund three new stations in Snowmass Village that went live around the beginning of the new year. One of those replaces an older station in Town Park; one is at a new location in the Housing Department offices on Deerfield Drive and one is a second station at Lot 3 off of Carriage Way.

The grant funds reimburse the town for $9,000 of the cost of each charging station; the total project cost was in the $45,000 range, of which the town pays the remainder not covered by the grant, Guarino wrote in an email.

It brings the total number of town-owned charging stations to four; each has two ports, so eight cars can charge at any given time. There also are two public chargers — for four total ports — in the Base Village Parking Garage managed by East West Hospitality.

One month into 2022, data provided by Guarino and by Snowmass Mountain Lodging General Manager Kelly Brockett from East West indicates the stations are getting plenty of use.

In January, the town stations logged 248 individual charging sessions across all eight ports, diverting 3.03 metric tons of carbon dioxide, Guarino wrote in an email. The Base Village stations logged 161 individual charging sessions across all four ports, Brockett wrote, but she didn’t have emissions diversion data available.

Some of the old stations that the town managed didn’t have data-collection features, so comparing the January stats to those of last year would show a more drastic jump in usage than was actually the case.

The town’s charging stations are electric and get their power from the Holy Cross Energy grid, according to Guarino. Over time, that connection means the charging stations will become even more environmentally friendly because Holy Cross has committed to 100% clean energy by 2030.

“We have a good clean energy mix here with Holy Cross as it is, and if they make it to their 100% renewable by 2030, then we’re really in a pretty sustainable pattern,” Guarino said.

There are some impacts that aren’t just quantifiable but qualifiable too in terms of the messaging that bolstered EV charging sends, said Phi Filerman, the chair of the Snowmass Village Environmental Advisory Board and the community sustainability manager for the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE).

“It sends a signal to tourism, to people coming to visit Snowmass, both that Snowmass is committed in building the infrastructure to support their aggressive climate action goals, as well as (committed) to support(ing) the infrastructure that allows people to drive their EVs … to come to Snowmass,” Filerman said.

Filerman said infrastructure is a “key element” in helping Snowmass Village reach its ambitious climate action goals, which aim to reduce carbon emissions by 62.5% by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050 from a baseline set in 2009 as part of the ICLEI “Race to Zero” campaign.

It also contributes to Colorado’s climate action efforts, Filerman noted. One of those efforts aims to get 940,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030, which plays into into the bigger-picture goal of reducing greenhouse gas pollution by 50% by 2030 and by 90% by 2050 from a baseline set in 2005.

Getting to that point means making it both possible and normal to drive an electric vehicle instead of a gas-powered one, Filerman said.

“The more visible we make this, the more … we normalize electric vehicles,” Filerman said. “The more people see them, the more they believe and understand that they’re a totally viable option, and (it) will increase the number that are being used in the area.”