Alex Verachtert, YVSC Intern | April, 3 2023

My name is Alex Verachtert, and I am an intern with Yampa Valley Sustainability Council this spring. I am currently in my final semester at Colorado Mountain College where I am getting my Bachelors in Sustainability Studies. I have been interning under Paul Bony, the Energy and Transportation Director here at YVSC, while also working closely with Connor Byrnes, YVSC’s Sustainability Coordinator, in regards to how we can bring more electric vehicles (EV’s) into the Yampa Valley. 

Right now, we are on the precipice of a new and booming industry that is electric vehicles. The cost of producing EV’s is coming down as technology advances, making them more affordable for consumers, especially considering their reduced maintenance costs. Electric vehicles are better for the environment with reduced emissions, especially as our electric grids transition to renewable energy. Using electric vehicles, we can help to drastically reduce our carbon footprint here in the Yampa Valley. We rely on tourism so the demand for reliable and efficient transportation is key when it comes to sustainability. By electrifying the shuttle fleets in Steamboat, we are able to help move this goal forward. 

For my project, I am working on building a database that will help YVSC reach out to local businesses with regards to electric chargers and shuttles. So far, I have been researching the benefits of electric vehicles. It was with this knowledge that I was able to formulate a survey to send out to fleet managers and business owners around Steamboat. With this survey, I have gathered information on average miles driven by shuttle services while determining their interest in a fleet audit performed by YVSC. The survey also assesses a business’s desire to install chargers at their locations. With this information, we will be working to reduce what is one of the largest sectors of greenhouse gas emissions in the Yampa Valley: transportation.

Finally, my project will be wrapping up with a Ride and Drive event hosted in partnership with Lighting E-Motors. Lighting E-Motors is an electric van and shuttle company located on the Front Range. The event will be held on April 25th complete with test drive opportunities so that business owners can see if these shuttles might be the right fit for their needs. Our work hopes to decrease barriers and increase electric vehicle adoption in the community. If you are a business owner who is interested in fleet electrification, please reach out to YVSC’s Sustainability Coordinator, Conner Byrnes, to let us know that you would like to attend the event.