Just how big a role are EVs going to play in decarbonization? Although there are varying opinions on the matter, Community Energy (a renewable energy project developer) has developed models of both the financial and carbon impacts of large-scale vehicle electrification in Colorado. From these models, Community Energy came up with two main conclusions.

First, electrifying vehicles would reduce carbon more than completely decarbonizing the state electricity sector, pushing 2018 state emissions levels down 42 percent by 2040. Second, electrifying vehicles save consumers money by reducing the cost of transportation almost $600 a year on average. Both of these conclusions, however, rely on the state managing EV charging intelligently.

Fortunately, Colorado is already on it. The state legislature has had an extraordinarily productive year so far, passing a stunning array of climate and clean energy bills covering everything from clean electricity to utilities, energy efficiency, and a just transition. Among other things, the state adopted ambitious carbon targets: From 2005 levels, greenhouse gases must fall 26 percent by 2025, 50 percent by 2030, and 90 percent by 2050.

Several of the bills passed in support of that effort focused on electric vehicles, extending available tax credits and funding charging infrastructure. With all these EV-focused initiatives in place, it seems Colorado could provide a blueprint to the rest of America when it comes to transitioning towards electric cars.