President Joe Biden’s signed an executive order last month with the goal of having half of all cars sold in 2030 be electric, part of his agenda to address global warming.
In some ways, Nevada has a headstart, with the state already supporting EV technology through investments in charging infrastructure, renewables, and electricity distribution.
The Nevada Electric Highway program, begun when Brian Sandoval was governor, aims to provide charging along the five major highway corridors in the state: Interstate 80, Interstate 15, U.S. 93, U.S. 95, and U.S. 50.
“We've got six stations left for that network, and we should have that wrapped up by the end of the year,” said David Bobzien, director of the Governor's Office of Energy. “There's definitely going to be a big ramp up in terms of the infrastructure available to consumers.”
Bobzien said Nevada can leverage its abundance of solar and geothermal clean-energy resources to wring even more benefits from the electrification of transportation.
“Being able to plug vehicles into that cleaner grid means that we're not having to import fossil fuels into our state, into our economy,” he said. “We're essentially playing to our economic strengths.”
Nevada’s competitive electric rates also weigh in favor of the transition to EVs.
“Nevada is a bit unique among states in that it has relatively lower charging prices per kilowatt-hour, and relatively higher fuel costs,” said Greg Lovato, administrator of the state Division of Environmental Protection. “It's actually beneficial economically to move to an electric vehicle.”
Also, transportation provides low-hanging fruit in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“About 36% of our total emissions come from the transportation sector,” said Kristen Averyt, the state’s climate policy coordinator and a UNLV professor. “So we really need to do everything that we can to reduce those emissions.”
Averyt said electrification should come with a rethinking of the role transportation plays in our lives.
“It's about what we're willing to do as a society. Are we willing to get out of our cars? Are we willing to walk? Can we take bicycles,” she said. “We can't just have incremental change, we have to be transformative.”
An NV Energy executive said the company is working to boost production capacity and add infrastructure to meet the demands of an EV world.
"Whether it's at your government agencies, the airport, casinos or malls, we've been really been proactive and making sure the infrastructure is being built out as the market develops," said Marie Steele. the utility's director of electrification. "We're trying to expand into a much larger clean energy economy."
With dozens of models currently available and in the pipeline, automobile “dealers are all-in on EVs,” said Andy MacKay, executive director of the Nevada Franchised Auto Dealers Association.
“It ultimately is the path and that we're going to be going,” he said. “This is a ship that's left the dock and you aren't going to stop it.”
David Bobzien, director, Governor’s Office of Energy; Greg Lovato, administrator, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection; Marie Steele, electrification director, NV Energy; Andy MacKay, executive director, Nevada Franchised Auto Dealers Association; Kristen Averyt, Nevada state climate policy coordinator