VEA Puts Charge in Nevada’s ‘Electric Highway’
Work begins on VEA’s second charging station later in 2018
Valley Electric Association’s vehicle charging station at Beatty marked the first milestone in Gov. Brian Sandoval’s plan to turn U.S. Highway 95 between Reno and Las Vegas into an “Electric Highway.”
VEA operates two charging bays at the Eddie World gas station north of Beatty. Each bay is equipped with three ports:
- One direct current hookup that can charge an electric vehicle to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes
- Two, level-two chargers that provide a full battery recharge in four hours.
Installed in 2016, the Beatty station was the first of four along the 448-mile corridor connecting Nevada’s two largest cities and the only one within VEA’s service area. Now there are stations in Fallon, Hawthorne and Tonopah. Owners of extended-range EV and electric/gasoline hybrid vehicle owners can complete the journey by recharging at the strategically placed stations.
Later in 2018, VEA will begin work on its second charging station at Lathrop Wells also on U.S. Highway 95 near Amargosa Valley.
The governor said the stations will give visitors the opportunity to experience rural Nevada and contribute to its economy.
“By energizing this first charging station, Nevada is one step closer to our vision of connecting the urban centers in Clark and Washoe counties and expanding our electric vehicle footprint into rural Nevada,” Sandoval said. “By electrifying our highways, we’re creating an opportunity for more people to enjoy Nevada’s beautiful scenery, visit our vibrant communities and explore the state’s many historic sites and gorgeous state parks. Nevada’s electric highway is an important step in our state’s pursuit to lead in emerging and innovative technologies.”
VEA used a $15,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Energy to offset a portion of the cost of building and equipping the Beatty station. Electric car owners can “fill up” for free until 2021 by using a free ChargePoint card available at their website.
The Nevada “Electric Highway” project is believed to be the nation’s first in a rural area. For this reason, VEA committed to developing the charging station when Sandoval announced the program in June 2015.
With electric vehicles becoming more commonplace each day and play an important role in VEA’s commitment to community engagement while developing technology that will present significant benefits to the co-op’s members by:
- Serving as a source of the latest, unbiased information regarding charging technology, vehicle prices, and total cost of ownership that consumers who are considering purchasing EVs.
- Increasing the utility’s load from a new market (tourists), while spreading costs of infrastructure among a greater number of ratepayers, which reduces costs to everyone.
- Managing the additional load through incentives so it does not tax the distribution system during high-demand times such as early evenings and summer afternoons. This malleability can increase revenue, which keeps rates low while making more efficient use of existing distribution capacity.
- Partnering with environmental organizations and government agencies, which allows VEA to assume a leadership role in green technology. That has the effect of lessening dependence on foreign oil, protecting the environment and saving our members money, which can be invested in the community.