Nevada's Governor Brian Sandoval and power company NV Energy announced a joint plan this week to serve EV owners with an Electric Highway linking Reno and Las Vegas.
The Nevada Electric Highway will provide charging stations for electric vehicles along the portion of US Route 95 that connects Reno and Carson City with Las Vegas, a drive of nearly 450 miles with some stretches remote enough that even drivers of gas-powered vehicles can experience range anxiety.
The state currently has 150 charging stations in place for its 1,400 registered EVs, but according to NV Energy they're primarily located in more densely populated areas.
To add five more charging stations by November and make it possible for EVs to navigate the route, the state is asking businesses in rural areas to host the chargers, which will be installed for free by NV Energy. In exchange, the hosts must agree to make free charging available to consumers 24 hours per day for five years.
Each charging station will be equipped with two AC Level-2 charging ports with J-1772 connectors that can charge a car in several hours and one DC fast-charger with a combo connector, capable of topping off the batteries in less than an hour.
Since purchase, installation and other costs associated with even the Level-2 chargers can run $6,000 each, NV Energy says it will "provide an up-front cost abatement payment of $30,000 to help the host acquire, permit, install and maintain the electric vehicle charging stations."
The Electric Highway "will allow electric vehicle drivers to power their cars by tapping into Nevada's own renewable energy resources," said Sandoval in a statement. "This will strengthen our state's energy independence while reducing Nevada's petroleum imports."
In addition to those benefits, the initiative will help support tourism, the largest industry in the state, by facilitating EV transportation between Nevada's two main destination cities.
It will also address some issues raised in a recent report by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, which charged that "Nevada does not yet have the policy infrastructure to support mass deployment of electric vehicles."
EVs have been a major topic of discussion in Nevada since Tesla began building the world's largest battery factory just outside of Reno. As previously reported by Edmunds, the "Gigafactory" will enable Tesla to produce cheaper and more efficient battery packs for its 2015 Model S, the upcoming 2016 Model X and the lower-priced 2017 Model 3, with the goal of building 500,000 electric vehicles by 2020.
Edmunds says: EV owners in Nevada and the surrounding states will appreciate this initiative to alleviate some of their concerns on Nevada's north-south artery.