There was electricity in the air outside Zeal Restaurant on Wednesday evening as Boulder Transportation Connections and the Boulder Chamber hosted Electrify October, a celebration of innovative mobility options. Not only did the wide variety of electric vehicles spark great conversations among attendees, but a thunderstorm also briefly passed overhead, adding to the excitement.
Referring to the storm that dampened the FUNKtion at Boulder Junction in September, Mayor Aaron Brockett joked, “Next year, if we’re in a drought, we know what we need to do, right? We hold an event at Boulder Junction, and the skies will open and the drought will go away!”
Mayor Brockett welcomed attendees to Electrify October, which featured a wireless sound system from the Ministry of Movement, delivered by custom cargo e-bike. He spoke about the rapid expansion of electric mobility options and their potential to mitigate air quality, health and climate change impacts.
“It’s really exciting to see all the electric vibes going on here this afternoon and all the excitement for electrification in general,” Brockett said. “When we’re talking about dealing with climate change, and as our grid greens, what we have to do next is electrify everything. This is a great expo about how we can do that. Working together, I know we will get there. We can all make it happen.”
Throughout the happy-hour event, attendees enjoyed food and drinks from Zeal as they talked with representatives from local companies and organizations on the cutting edge of electric transportation. Frank Bruno, executive director of Via Mobility, spoke about the three electric HOP buses currently serving Boulder, and Via’s plans to bring more electric buses online. Via driver Christine Landowski gave attendees tours of the bus onsite and shared about her experiences interacting with riders about how much they appreciate the quiet and comfortable ride.
Buford Barr and Seth Terry of New Day Hydrogen introduced their innovative hydrogen fuel cell technology featured in the Hyundai Nexo, which is being used at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden. Shaun Onorato, hydrogen systems engineer for NREL, was on site to show attendees how the vehicle works.
Bobbi Solis and Peter Krahenbuhl of Colorado CarShare brought their newest EV, a Hyundai Ioniq 5, to the event and shared about the organization’s mission to make electric cars accessible to more people through their model of short-term rental. Echoing the importance of equity in access to electric mobility, independent EV consultant Nigel Zeid discussed the importance of micromobility, including e-bikes and scooters, as the fastest-growing segment of the electric vehicle market. He brought a foldable Lectric e-bike along with his Chevy Bolt to demonstrate how lightweight and compact electric bikes can help people with lower incomes boost their mobility options.
Electrify October marked the final event in BTC’s five-part FUNction at Boulder Junction series. Boulder Junction Access District Commissioner and homeowner Rebekah Dumouchelle thanked BTC and the City of Boulder for highlighting the benefits of her neighborhood through the event series.
“Boulder Junction has enabled the city to build new housing, especially affordable housing, and it’s right next to some really nice townhomes. It is such a special place. Part of that is that it’s one mile from downtown. You can hop on an electric BCycle to get there,” said Dumouchelle.
She encouraged attendees to get involved with BTC’s efforts to hold RTD to its plan to return bus service to the Boulder Junction Depot Square Station, which was closed in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. “When I worked in Denver, I had a one-seat bus ride from Boulder Junction to Civic Center,” she said. “I would walk one block over to my office. It was fantastic.”
In total, about 100 people from Boulder Junction and beyond came out to learn and get inspired by new technology at Electrify October. Nite Ize donated 60 LED SpokeLit gifts, which BTC handed out to attendees who participated in a BINGO card activity, collecting information from vendors. BTC thanks all who attended and supported the FUNction at Boulder Junction event series. See below for a gallery of photos from the event.