Dealerships bring out sustainable cars for Earth Day


That word has taken on new layers of meaning for residents of the Mojave Desert during the past seven years, as Southern Nevadans also worked through a devastating economic recession. The resiliency of the local population has been characterized by an ongoing re-evaluation of lifestyle choices, particularly housing and transportation.

When considering a new car purchase, how efficient is it in consuming energy? How stable are fuel supplies and fuel prices for this vehicle over time? Can the car or truck use more than one fuel source, if needed? What are the trade-offs in performance and fuel efficiency? How does each transportation choice affect the quality of life in the local community?

The United States commemorates Earth Day every year on April 22. Local businesses, schools, nonprofit organizations, utilities and government agencies join together to reconsider how personal and institutional choices affect our planet and local habitat.

A GreenFest 2016 celebration has been planned for Saturday at Downtown Summerlin from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with booths and presentations. Interactive displays explore ways to save green money while also conserving our green planet by improving homes, personal health, nutrition, energy usage, water consumption and transportation.

A Green Vehicle Zone will feature hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric cars from Lexus of Las Vegas, Gaudin Porsche and Findlay Chevrolet. All three of these dealerships will be displaying vehicles that are luxurious, stylish and accelerate quickly, but they can also save their owners money at the gasoline pump.

Lexus of Las Vegas will feature four new hybrid models that include the CT 200h, ES 300h, NX 300h, and RX 450h.

Toyota, and its luxury Lexus brand, first introduced the Synergy hybrid power train system to the U.S. automotive market during the early part of the last decade. Since that time, the company has continued to refine and implement gasoline/electric hybrid drive trains across many of its product lines, while also increasing fuel efficiency from 30 miles per gallon to over 40 mpg on some of its vehicle platforms.

All of these luxury vehicles exhibit satisfying performance and acceleration.

The CT 200h has a 42-mpg combined fuel-efficiency rating. The base model is priced below $32,000, but the driver can choose from Eco, Normal or Sport performance modes while on the road.

The ES 300h has a larger 2.5-liter engine that can accelerate from zero to sixty miles per hour in just 8.1 seconds while still being certified as a “super ultra-low emissions vehicle” at SULEV level II.

The NX 300h is built for comfort and sporty performance but still has a respectable combined fuel-efficiency rating of 33-mpg.

The RX 450h employs a powerful 3.5-liter V-6 engine with all-wheel drive performance but still has a combined fuel-efficiency rating of 30 mpg.

Gaudin Porsche will exhibit the Panamera S E-Hybrid, as well as the Cayenne S E-Hybrid SUV during GreenFest 2016. Both of these models are plug-in electric hybrids that can travel about 14 to 22 miles on electric power alone before automatically switching to a hybrid gasoline/electric operational mode.

The Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds to a top track speed of 167 mph. It employs a hybrid drive train that produces 416 horsepower at 5500 rpm, but still sips gas at a combined fuel-efficiency rating of 50-mpg. Luxury, high performance and fuel-efficiency can all be realized at a starting price of just under $94,000.

The Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid sports utility vehicle is larger, heavier and roomier than the Panamera but still employs the same drive train to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds up to a top track speed of 151 mph. A smaller battery pack and larger form factor into the trade-off for lower combined fuel efficiency at 22 mpg, but the suggested MRSP for this SUV with sports car performance starts at under $79,000.

Both the Cayenne S E-Hybrid and Panamera S E-Hybrid are eligible for federal tax credits ranging from $4,750 to $5,300 based on the size of their lithium-ion battery traction packs.

Findlay Chevrolet will feature the new 2017 Chevrolet Volt, an extended-range electric vehicle that has been redesigned for the 2017 model year to travel more than 50 miles in electric-only mode before its 1.5-liter gasoline generator activates to provide another 370 miles of range to the AC electric motor on the vehicle’s front-wheel-drive system.

Most local trips will consume electricity at half the cost of gasoline, and the Volt’s battery pack can be recharged by plugging into an outlet in a home garage overnight. MSRP for the 2017 Chevrolet Volt LT model starts at $33,220. The 2017 Volt Premier model starts at $37,570. Both Chevrolet Volt models are eligible for a federal tax credit of $7,500 for their 18.4 kilowatt-hour traction battery packs.

Verdek, ChargePoint and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be demonstrating electric car refueling stations in the Green Vehicle Zone that are available at many public sites within Southern Nevada. Many of these stations continue to provide electricity for plug-in electric cars at no cost as part of a shared investment program initiated by NV Energy. Local host sites that recharge electric cars on the Las Vegas Strip include most of the resorts owned by MGM Resorts International, Caesars International and Las Vegas Sands Corp.

The Las Vegas Motor Speedway recently began providing solar-powered electric car charging stations from DC Solar within the parking lot of its facility so that plug-in electric car owners also can receive free electricity from the sun while attending local racing events.

Battery-powered electric cars displayed in the Green Vehicle Zone during GreenFest 2016 in Downtown Summerlin will include a Nissan Leaf, a Tesla Motors Roadster and a converted 1965 Mustang Fastback that is now fueled by electricity.

The Southern Nevada Fleet Association booth will feature educational information about how its members promote alternative-fuel vehicles and vehicle maintenance practices that improve the performance and fuel consumption of fleet vehicles throughout Southern Nevada.

The Regional Transportation Commission and MGM Resorts International have used compressed natural gas as fuel for their buses and limousines. Some local taxi services have used propane instead of gasoline to drive their cars.

The Clark County School District has modified most of its school buses to run on biodiesel fuel in order to mitigate the amount of black smoke emitted from diesel engines while also improving the quality of the air that their young passengers breathe everyday while traveling to and from school.

In Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City and Clark County now use hybrid and plug-in electric cars as part of their fleet motor pools.

As a preview to GreenFest 2016, a Drive Clean Energy caravan will begin at the parking lot of Las Vegas Cyclery near Town Center Drive in Summerlin at 9 a.m. Saturday and proceed north on Town Center Drive to Downtown Summerlin.

For more information about GreenFest 2016, visit

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