Valley Electric Association is set to bring Nye County its first electric car charging station as part of a statewide effort.
The charging station, which will be installed in Beatty at a yet-to-be determined location, will be part of the Nevada Electric Highway initiative.
Gov. Brian Sandoval announced the initiative at a news conference last month, which will install charging stations in key rural areas in the state along the U.S. Highway 95 corridor between the two largest cities in Nevada.
“The governor wanted to connect Reno with Las Vegas, the two biggest metropolitan areas with a path that electric vehicles could take to travel between them,” said Chris Brooks, executive vice president of energy services for VEA. “The obvious choice is U.S. 95 running north to south and that would need to improve the electric vehicle charging infrastructure tremendously to make that a viable route for electric vehicles.”
The plan is to build electric charging stations across the over 400-mile stretch of U.S. 95, including stations in Fallon, Hawthorne, Tonopah, Beatty and Indian Springs. Many of them will be installed by NV Energy because they are in that company’s service areas.
“That will make a charging station never be too far away from an electric vehicle if they’re traveling between Vegas and Reno,” Brooks said.
A typical electric vehicle can travel between 25 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in for the smaller electric hybrid vehicles, and 250 miles for the top of the line electric vehicles, according to Brooks.
The exact location is still being discussed, but Brooks explained that the location must have high vehicle traffic, 24-hour access, and would have something for travelers to do when they are utilizing the car charging station.
“We are narrowing that down to a few different places that are popular tourists spots in Beatty, but we haven’t made a final selection yet,” he said.
Each charging station will include one DC, or direct current, fast charger and two level two chargers, which are slower chargers. A DC charger can charge a vehicle in less than an hour, compared to a level two charger, which takes severals hours to obtain a full charge.
The cost of installation will be divided up between the utility and grants administered by the state. There will be no charge to charging station users initially, but an undetermined cost will be charged in the future, once an electrical vehicle tariff is created.
There is no exact timeline for when the charging station will be installed, but Brooks said, “very soon, definitely in the next few months.”
Future electric car charging sites are possible for VEA in its other service areas in the future, but that will depend on the usage the Beatty one gets once installed.
“I think we want to see how popular the station is in Beatty, and we also want to do some research about how many electric vehicles we have in our service area, and that travel between our service area.”
Brooks hopes that program will help increase economic development in the rural areas in Nevada and increase tourism in the rural areas in Nevada.
“Beatty is looked at as the gateway to Death Valley and a lot of people come through Death Valley and now those tourists in electric vehicles can see Death Valley as a viable option to visit in their electric vehicle,” he said. “We’re very proud to participate in this project and very proud to support renewable energy and electric vehicles in the State of Nevada.”
Outside the governor’s initiative, VEA is still evaluating the possibility of installing a electric service station in Pahrump.