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Colorado resort towns begin testing electric shuttles

Lighting eMotors is giving Colorado mountain businesses and communities the chance to test drive electric vans.

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — As electric cars continue to gain popularity, Colorado's mountain towns could see electric vans next.

Business owners in Breckenridge and Summit County are looking at electric vans as the next step in shuttling people around resort communities.

Summit County government and the High Country Conservation Center hosted a free ride demonstration to give mountain towns and businesses the chance to see if electric shuttles might work for them, said Summit County Sustainability Coordinator Michael Wurzel.

"Why not start with shuttles and small tour buses and passenger vehicles?" said Wurzel. "That’s what this event does, it allows business to try out these vehicles see why they’re great."

Credit: 9News

Loveland-based Lightning eMotors has an electric cargo transit van and an electric shuttle bus on hand for people to drive.

Marcy Willard with Lighting eMotors said electric vans can cost more upfront, but can save a company money down the road in fuel and maintenance.

Lighting eMotors just signed a $850-million deal to build 7,500 electric buses.   

Credit: 9News

 "What we see over time is this is an 80-percent less fuel vehicle and 60-percent savings in maintenance," said Willard. "By year seven, you paid the same amount, but have been driving a zero-emissions vehicle."

The road electric vans and shuttles might also help with bus driver shortages being felt all over the state.

In Golden, the Colorado School of Mines is already running autonomous electric shuttles around campus.

"Several companies have reached out and said we would like to see about combining our autonomous with your electric," said Willard.

RELATED: Nation's largest fleet of autonomous vehicles launches in Colorado

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