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Colorado's Environment & Economy Would Benefit From President Biden's Electric Vehicle Plan

DENVER (CBS4) - A Colorado company could play a big role in replacing the federal government's fleet of cars and trucks with electric vehicles. President Biden announced the plan to switch to electric vehicles Tuesday.

"We specialize in those types of vehicles government has a lot of. There aren't a lot of people who do what we do," said Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning eMotors in Loveland.

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The company manufactures zero emission buses, delivery trucks, shuttle vans and ambulances.

Reeser says it increased production 600% last fall, doubling its workforce in the middle of a recession.

"We'll more than double that again this year."

Reeser says the company was already experiencing explosive growth when he learned the federal government would need more than 600,000 electric vehicles.

"Now to have some political tailwinds too, absolutely. We're in a place where we get to take advantage of it."

It's not the only Colorado company that stands to benefit from the President's embrace of electric vehicles.

"I think we're going to see an increasing number of companies that are really actively engaged in the vehicle electrification space," said Will Toor, Director of the Colorado Energy Office.

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He says the state is also home to a leading battery maker, Solid Power in Louisville, and the electric vehicle charging company, National Car Charging. There are also many smaller companies like Atlasta Solar in Grand Junction which, after powering electric vehicles for years, is now selling them.

Owner Lou Villaire says, "We're in the process of hiring new people for the Montrose location and Rifle location."

Companies aren't the only ones who'll benefit, Toor says.  Coloradans would save billions of dollars in fuel costs.

"When consumers aren't spending their money on fuel. They're spending that money on other things, and that tends to have, indirectly, an economic benefit. So, the actual benefits, I think, will be magnified."

The state's goal is for every vehicle here to be electric by 2050 and with federal backing, Toor says, it's attainable.

"Having government lead by example, I think, has an impact beyond the number of vehicles. It also helps signal to the market when it sees government really leading."

Lightning eMotors is leading too. It started 10 years ago with six employees and is now going public.

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"Regardless of the policy, regardless of the politics, fleets started saying we can do this, we want to do this, our customers want us to do it, our employees want us to do it," Reeser said.

In addition to the economic impact, Colorado would also see an environmental benefit to more electric vehicles. Toor says cars and trucks are the single largest source of pollution here.

Biden has also promised a national charging network and $300 billion investment in research and development of electric vehicles. Toor says continued tax credits are also key.

Right now, you can get up to $10,000 back - between state and federal tax credits - if you buy an electric vehicle.

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