Plug-in stations for vehicles give Las Vegas Mr. Electric chance for growth

When Andy Jackson began working as an electrical contractor in 1986, electric vehicles weren’t yet part of the game.

But now that they are, he’s taking advantage.

“We knew construction wasn’t going to be as booming as it was in the past,” said Jackson, who has owned a franchised Mr. Electric location in Las Vegas since 1996.

So Jackson and his crew turned to installing electric-vehicle charging stations in homes and at commercial properties.

“We got on the bandwagon right away,” Jackson said. “We signed up with a whole bunch of companies and did training.”

Jackson has installed about 80 stations, mostly commercial, including a number of car dealership installations.

Most popular are Tesla Motors charging stations, followed by Chevrolet Volts and Ford models.

Jeff Meyers, president of Mr. Electric nationally, said the company wanted to become a leader in electric vehicle charging station installs.

The company started to build relationships within the industry five years ago and employees attend conferences to stay current in their knowledge.

Mr. Electric has worked with Ford Motor Co., Mitsubishi, Chevrolet and Volkswagen, which is testing electric vehicles.

The percentage of business that comes from electric vehicle installs is still fairly small, but is growing as electric vehicles are catching on.

Meyers said California is by far the most popular market, and Arizona and Nevada have fairly high adoption rates.

The interest is there, but the price is still high for some.

Tesla Motors S models start at $70,000. Chevy Volts start at $34,000 and a Nissan Leaf starts at $29,000.

Most vehicles come with a standard 100-volt plug-in but the charge can take a long time, Jackson said.

“It’s evolving,” he said. “As technology increases, the chargers change, but the plugs will remain the same.”

All electric vehicles use the same plug, regardless of the model.

Electric vehicle-charger home installs start at $800 and go up to about $2,500, Jackson said. Commercial jobs can cost tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the number of stations.

He compares electric vehicles to solar panels. Where it used to take 15 years to sell an inventory, but now Mr. Electric completes installs every day.

Besides electric vehicle chargers, Mr. Electric adds circuits to homes, does landscape lighting, hangs Christmas lights and stores them for the year.

“Energy savings is a hot topic,” Meyers said. “EV is a part of it, but we’re also looking at solar, LED lighting, timers and more.”

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