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Paul Thomsen, Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy, announces the new Nevada Electric Highway Joint Initiative in Carson City, Nevada.  He was joined at the event by Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell, left, NV Energy CEO Paul Caudill, and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval.  The Initiative received financial support from the Energy Department's State Energy Program.

Paul Thomsen, Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy, announces the new Nevada Electric Highway Joint Initiative in Carson City, Nevada. He was joined at the event by Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell, left, NV Energy CEO Paul Caudill, and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. The Initiative received financial support from the Energy Department's State Energy Program.

Clean energy is a centerpiece of Nevada’s transportation policy.

In June, the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy and the local utility NV Energy announced the Nevada Electric Highway joint initiative, an effort to facilitate electric vehicle (EV) transportation on U.S. Route 95. The roadway connects the two major urban centers in the state, Las Vegas and Reno. To help offset costs for installing the charging stations along the route, Nevada will leverage funds allocated by the Energy Department’s State Energy Program.

The state is requesting that business and government entities in communities along U.S. Route 95 propose interest in hosting the charging stations that will form the new electric highway. Sites will be selected based on their cost-effectiveness, proximity to Route 95, and sustainability. In this context, a “sustainable” host is a stable business or government entity with a history of clean energy or energy efficiency practices.

Once approved by the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy and NV Energy, each station will feature one fast charger and two level 2 EV chargers. Fast chargers can recharge an all-electric vehicle’s battery in less than one hour; level 2 chargers require several hours. The new stations are scheduled to open by the end of the year. They will join an existing network of 95 EV charging stations scattered across the state.

EVs could play a key role in the future of sustainable transportation in Nevada. These vehicles, which are charged by plugging the vehicle into an electric power source, can either be all-electric or plug-in hybrid electric.  All-electric vehicles use electricity as their only fuel source and are powered by a rechargeable battery. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) use both conventional fuel and electricity to power the vehicle.

Because the state’s electricity sources produce relatively low carbon emissions, the average Nevada EV will produce about half the carbon pollution of a conventional gas vehicle, minimizing drivers’ contributions to climate change. Solar power, for example, is a major contributor to Nevada’s electricity portfolio. According to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA),  the state has enough solar energy currently installed to power approximately 135,000 homes.

The Electric Highway joint initiative builds on prior sustainable transportation efforts in Nevada. In 2012, the shipping giant UPS Inc. built a liquefied natural gas filling station in Las Vegas and purchased a fleet of 22 natural gas trucks. The investment was supported in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 through the Energy Department’s Clean Cities program. President Obama visited the station soon after its construction.

The Energy Department’s State Energy Program provides funding and technical assistance to energy offices in states and U.S. territories to advance local clean energy priorities while contributing to national energy goals.