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Colorado electric vehicle stakeholders anticipate future funding

DENVER — As climate change impacts our air, President Joe Biden has said he wants half of the country’s vehicle sales to be electric cars by 2030. It’s a big goal, but this week the White House announced $3 billion to help back it.

“The United States has to invest through these public-private partnerships, and that is precisely what I’m seeing happening with this,” said Doug Campbell, CEO of Solid Power.

Colorado has been a leader for electric vehicles (EVs) and the state’s industry stakeholders shared their hope for future funding.

Solid Power is based in Louisville and expanded their production into Thornton late last year. The company produces solid state batteries for electric vehicles, unlike more common batteries that have a liquid electrolyte.

“The solid state, what that enables is really higher levels of energy which, of course, would then translate into a greater range for an electric vehicle,” Campbell said.

According to the United States Department of Energy, the $3 billion will be offered as cost-sharing grants to companies who are involved in each step of the battery supply chain. Up to 30 companies could receive grants worth more than $50 million each.

Campbell said he believes the funding will help the country become more independent on its supply chains and energy resources

“Let’s face it — right now, battery production is dominated by Asian producers,” he said. “If left to just simple, free economic forces, I can assure you that that will remain unchanged as we move into the future. To me, that represents a national security issue.”

As for when Solid Power could receive funding, Campbell went on to say, “We’re in the process, right now, of getting our arms around it. I would guess that this funding would hit, you know, companies like ourselves and others research institutions, probably the first or second quarter of next year.”

According to Colorado’s Energy Office, as of April 1, 51,645 electric vehicles are on the state’s roadways.

Bob Andersen, an electric car enthusiast and member of Denver’s Electric Vehicle Council, said he’s hopeful EVs will become more accessible to other drivers in the future.

“Every day another car company comes out with an electric car,” he said. “I mean, it’s inevitable.”

Andersen owns and drives a 2005 model GEM car and a 2017 model Tesla.

“The Tesla charges at 240-volt, the GEM car charges at 120,” he said. “It has made my life easier.”

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