Nevada has major projects underway to improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure with multi-million dollar investments underway.
Gov. Steve Sisolak announced this week that the state has requested $38 million in federal funds over the next five years to improve Nevada’s electric vehicle charging network. The application is subject to federal review and must be approved by the United States Joint Office of Energy and Transportation.
“The future of transportation is electric, and I’m proud to see public agencies and the private sector in Nevada working together to develop a comprehensive plan that will leverage every dollar to build a network of electric vehicles nationwide. the state that will be a model for the rest of the nation,” Sisolak said in a statement Monday.
The initial goal of the plan, developed by the Nevada Department of Transportation, is to build the networks of charging stations within 50 miles of each other, primarily along interstate highways that include Interstate 15, Interstate 80, Interstate 11, Interstate 215 and Interstate 515. .
Expanding access to charging stations will be vital as electric vehicle ownership has increased in recent years. In Nevada, the total share of electric vehicles among all vehicles is expected to nearly quadruple by 2032, as the current percentage of electric vehicles – 2% – is expected to grow to 7.4% over the next decade.
Adding charging stations is key to growing electric vehicle ownership, said Marie Steele, vice president of electrification and energy services at NV Energy.
“Polls show that one of the biggest barriers to electric cars is infrastructure, so adding charging options is a priority,” she said.
This initial funding and focus on major highways is intended to serve the majority of the state’s population, with approximately 88.6 of the state’s 3.1 million residents living in the Clark and Washoe counties.
One of the main challenges of the EV plan is providing enough charging stations for rural areas of the state versus urban areas.
The primary focus for building charging stations is on Nevada’s freeways, but once those are added, the state would want to focus on smaller freeways, according to the rollout plan. Smaller highways – including US Routes 50, 95, 93 and 395 – would need charging stations to get EV charging infrastructure “fully built.”
The Nevada Rural Electric Association views this investment in charging stations as crucial for rural areas, where residents often have to travel longer distances to access services.
“The rural deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure is critical to supporting Nevada’s long-term economic development and electrification goals,” said NREA Executive Director Carolyn Turner.
Nevada has set high electrification goals. State officials have said they hope to have 50% of electricity generated from renewable resources by 2030 and net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Helping to electrify transportation will be essential for the state is meeting these goals because 36 percent of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, one of the largest shares of the state’s total emissions, according to the 2021 State of Energy Report.
Role of NV Energy
An additional $100 million will be invested as part of the state’s economic recovery transportation electrification plan which calls for the addition of more than 1,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the state by 2022 to 2024.
The plan was created in the 2021 Omnibus Energy Bill, SB 448, which directed an electric utility to implement a program to help electrify transportation in the state. The $100 million cost of the plan will be recovered by NV Energy through tariff charges, according to Jennifer Schuricht, director of corporate communications for NV Energy.
Nevada currently has more than 1,100 charging stations, according to PlugShare, a company that shares information intended to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. The Las Vegas area has the largest share of charging stations in the state with just over 800 charging stations.
The investor-owned utility company manages the funds within ERTEP. The program is kicking off, Schuricht said, and is accepting applications from companies until Aug. 15 for its first round of electric vehicle charging stations.
NV Energy has generated a lot of interest from the business community about the program, Steele noted.
The first round of applications will choose 27 sites for electric vehicle charging stations, including 22 in urban areas and five along highways, Schuricht said.
NV Energy will invest a small amount in initial applications for EV sites with just under $9,400 on stations along highways and around $26,300 for stations in urban areas, according to Schuricht. Sites must meet certain criteria to qualify for NV Energy assistance, including being located in public spaces that are accessible 24/7 and near amenities such as restaurants and shops, according to Steele.
Although NV Energy chooses the host sites for these charging stations, the companies that own the sites will choose how they operate and can outsource the management of the sites to another entity, according to Steele. These sites can also choose to charge for access to these charging stations.
This first round of applications is small, but NV Energy plans to unveil a larger and more ambitious plan to electrify transport with ERTEP funds on September 1, Schuricht said.