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Two people wave from an electric vehicle Saturday during an EV M=motorcade in downtown Longmont. (Kelsey Hammon / Staff Writer)
Two people wave from an electric vehicle Saturday during an EV M=motorcade in downtown Longmont. (Kelsey Hammon / Staff Writer)

More than 50 electric vehicles traveled quietly through downtown Longmont on Saturday, but the message of the motorcade to support more sustainable forms of transportation rang loud and clear.

The EV Motorcade was hosted by Sustainable Resilient Longmont, a nonprofit group with the goal of helping Longmont transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Rachel Zelaya, the nonprofit’s program coordinator, said this is the first electric vehicle parade the group has hosted. Last year, the nonprofit put on an electric vehicle fair, which it could not host this year due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Colorado has a goal to have 940,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030, according to the Colorado Energy Office. So far, there are 30,356 electric vehicles on the road across the state, including 5,233 in Boulder County, according to the Colorado Energy Office’s online dashboard.

“We have a long way to go,” said Zelaya, who owns an electric Fiat 500. “Raising awareness that people have EVs (electric vehicles) and that they’re so quiet and clean. We wanted to show what it would be like to have electric vehicles going up and down Main Street.”

The vehicles on Saturday came in all forms. There were electric skateboards, bicycles, motorcycles, a two-door solar-powered car, sporty cars, family cars and a “Poleaf,” a version of Nissan’s battery-powered LEAF. Those who participated Saturday said they see electric vehicles as the future and a key to bettering the environment. They hoped the parade showed how the technology has advanced and availed some common concerns.

Longmont’s Darren Odom, a Boulder engineer for an artificial intelligence company, bought his sleek gray Tesla, a model 3 long-range, about two years ago to replace his Jeep. Odom attended the parade Saturday with his wife, Debbie Odom, and their two children, ages 11 and 13.

Odom, a self-described enthusiast of electric vehicles, said besides the car, the family has electric dirt bikes, scooters and a skateboard.

“EVs are mainstream,” Odom said. “They are here to stay. Their performance is actually starting to exceed most old gas cars. They’re not what they used to be. The perception used to be that electric cars were slow and a little nerdy — not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s not the muscle car you see going down the road.”

But that’s not true anymore, Odom said.

“This (the Tesla) will outperform any muscle car on the road,” he said.

Not far from Odom’s Tesla, Paul Guzyk, the owner of Boulder Hybrids, a used car business and shop that specializes in electric and hybrid vehicle repairs, decorated a candy-apple red Prius Prime, a plug-in hybrid car, for the parade.

Guzyk, who owns his own plug-in hybrid Prius Prime car, said some hesitations he hears around buying an electric vehicle are their lack of range.

“This car (the Prius Prime) will run 30 miles on battery power and then switch to hybrid mode,” Guzyk said. “For people who have range anxiety, this car will go 600 miles on gas, but the average person drives less than 40 miles a day. So, most of their driving is electric, unless they go on a road trip.”

So, are they affordable?

“Yes, if you look at the big picture,” Guzyk said. “You can get  a used electric car starting around $8,000. It doesn’t need maintenance or gasoline.”

Guzyk added, “It’s cleaner, more fun to drive and more reliable.”

The motorcade capped off Electric Vehicle Week. In addition to the parade, the nonprofit also hosted a webinar on how electric vehicles combat climate change.

For Zelaya, the electric vehicles offer benefits to drivers and the planet alike.

“(They are) reducing air pollution, which has been super high this summer, the main causes are exhaust from transportation, as well as oil and gas extraction,” Zelaya said. “In order to survive, we are going to need to clean up our air.”

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