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Nevada officials planning for charging stations for electric vehicles

Updated March 8, 2017 - 6:11 pm

State officials are applying for several grants to pay for a network of charging stations to accommodate a likely surge in electric vehicles hitting Nevada’s roads and highways.

For now, only .47 percent of Nevada’s 2.42 million registered vehicles run on electricity or are plug-in hybrids, state and local officials said Wednesday during a three-hour workshop held at the Regional Transportation Commission’s Mobility Training Center.

“It’s a very small percentage, but it will exponentially grow and increase over time as electric vehicles become more affordable and a wider diversity of models are introduced to the market,” RTC General Manager Tina Quigley said.

All-electric buses manufactured by Proterra and eLion were parked just outside the meeting, which was sponsored by the RTC, NV Energy, the Governor’s Office of Energy and the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada. Work trucks from Altec were also displayed, alongside the Nissan Leaf and Tesla’s Model S. Ahern Energy also showed off a mobile charging station powered by 10 solar panels.

Work is underway on the first phase of the Nevada Electric Highway, which aims to build charging stations between Las Vegas and Reno along U.S. Highway 95.

State officials are working with electric utility companies to complete the project, with electric stations opening last year in Beatty and Fallon. By summer, Hawthorne and Tonopah will also be equipped with charging stations, which are available 24 hours daily and will cost nothing for users for at least five years.

State officials also are seeking several grants that would help pay for additional charging stations along Nevada’s highways by 2020, said Angela Dykema, director of the Governor’s Office of Energy.

Part of that funding could come from a $2 billion mitigation fund that was created when Volkswagen settled a lawsuit last year with the federal government over allegations that emissions from some of the manufacturer’s cars did not meet pollution regulations.

State officials are also seeking federal assistance to expand the Nevada Electric Highway, Dykema said.

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

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