How much of a bargain are those free electric car recharging stations in rural Nevada?

The state has released information on just how frequently those rural electric car recharging stations are being used, and it’s not exactly like the lines for gasoline back in the 1970s.

The Nevada Office of Energy reports that drivers have charged their electric vehicles 274 times at the three charging stations built by the state in Beatty, Fallon and Panaca along Highways 95 and 93 since the first one opened in early 2016, according to The Nevada Independent. The donation funded news website reports this usage saved a total equivalent to 395 gallons of gasoline and gave away 3,150 kilowatt-hours of electricity. It was dutifully noted that the usage rate is growing.

The costs of three charging stations which give away the power — dubbed the Electric Highway — has been a moving target. When the first opened in Beatty in March 2016 the Office of Energy said each would cost $15,000 and the would be paid for taxpayers and the ratepayers of NV Energy and Valley Electric Association. In the summer of 2015 press accounts said each would cost $30,000. A June 2017 story in the Las Vegas newspaper quoted a spokesman for the governor as saying the cost of each station would range from $85,000 to $250,000, but he assured its readers “none of that comes from taxpayer dollars. The office is funding its portion of costs with federal grant money, and the electric utility covers the rest.” And we thought federal grant money came from taxpayers.

According to the Office of Energy, NV Energy put up $30,000 in an upfront cost abatement payment. It also reports NV Energy is putting out $30,000 for three stations and Valley Electric $15,000 for one.

Another station opened a month ago in Hawthorne. No usage for that outpost was mentioned yet. The press release announcing the opening was bereft of dollar signs.

The first three electric car charging stations have been open an average of about 540 days. Thus, according the Office of Energy, they are used about once every two days.

Taking the low-ball cost per station of $15,000 each that means the 395 gallons saved cost $114 per gallon in capital outlay alone, never mind maintenance and operating costs. The high-end of $250,000 per station translates to $1,900 per gallon.

Using the current retail power cost of about 11 cents per kWh, the stations have given electric car drivers less than $350 worth of power over two years. Now there’s a bargain.

The NVIndy website said Gov. Brian Sandoval sent it an email statement saying he was “encouraged” by the progress of the project.

“When the entire route is complete, range anxiety will be significantly reduced, giving more travelers the comfort required to travel between Reno and Las Vegas,” the statement reportedly said. “Moreover, as the number of electric cars increases, I am confident even more travelers will utilize the electric highway.”

When that Beatty charging station opened, Sandoval was on hand demonstrate by charging up a Ford Focus from the state Department of Transportation fleet in Las Vegas. Since the car had a range of only 76 miles, it had to be hauled to the ceremony from Las Vegas. Most of the Beatty charging stations took four hours to recharge, though a couple could do an 80 percent recharge in half an hour.

According to that 2017 Las Vegas newspaper account, a spokesman for the governor said the office has identified 24 sites along five traffic corridors “where EV charging stations make sense.”

Depends on what one means by make sense?

Governor announces Nevada Electric Highway (Photo from governor’s office)




12 comments on “How much of a bargain are those free electric car recharging stations in rural Nevada?

  1. Steve says:

    Meanwhile Audi is making synthetic gasoline from corn sugars and CarbonEngineering is extracting carbon directly out of the atmosphere in the form of CO2, separating the oxygen and pelletizing the carbon for sequestration or use in manufacturing synthetic fuels.

    Put these two processes together and we can have the ultimate recycling program, a carbon negative energy industry and unlimited energy….

    Too bad it takes away liberal political power,,,,hmm….that means it will never be allowed to happen…. huh?

  2. Rincon says:

    It appears our government subsidized the automobile before autos could pay for the roads themselves.

    The rural electrification Act brought electricity to rural America decades sooner than would have otherwise been the case.

    Our government also subsidized the Internet by allowing firms to sell without paying sales taxes.

    But spending a few tens of thousands (or millions collectively) to aid the nascent electric car industry is hopelessly foolish, since government is incapable of making a society more productive.

    China has busily been subsidizing construction of its infrastructure. They are now #1 in the world for solar power, wind power, hydroelectric power, total electrical generation, cell phones, electric cars, bus transportation, high efficiency DC power transmission lines, high speed trains, and even bike sharing programs. They have 4 times our subway mileage. They have built enough roads to become the number one auto market in the world. They are also embarking on the Belt and Road project, which threatens to pull all of Central Asia, the Mideast, South Asia, and much of Europe into its economic orbit. In their spare time, they build islands in the South China Sea while we huff and puff. They still seem to have enough money to invest heavily in Africa, South America and, last I heard, even Afghanistan.

    But since China subsidizes so many of its infrastructure projects, which Conservatives always say leads to disaster, they can’t hope to even come close to matching us – can they?

  3. Steve says:

    ” nascent electric car industry”

    Totally laughable, Rincon.

    Baker Electric.

    Se also:
    Owens Magnetic.

    Nascent? In no way at all. Tried and failed…so let’s try again…I think there is something about doing the same thing over is the definition of something like insanity….But, feel free, insanity is bliss…or something.

    Or, it could be a totally new world of unlimited energy via the biggest and most effective recycling program in recorded history.

    You left peeps need to open your minds.

  4. Rincon says:

    Really Steve? You’re going to say the electric car industry isn’t nascent because we had a couple of cars in the early 1900’s based on lead acid batteries? OK, OK, if you enjoy rhetorical game playing, I will correct: An industry that has not existed in any meaningful form for essentially a century. Feel better? As if the existence of these two antiques has anything at all to do with today’s situation. The fact that you nip at the edges instead of taking my point head on confirms that you could not reasonably dispute the point I was making.

    BTW, the first three sentences for your link: “China is an unrivalled powerhouse in the global economy. For the last three decades, its growth has outpaced that of all other nations. Entire industries that took decades to mature in the West have sprung up in just a few years.”

    Sounds like their economy is pretty healthy – especially since they enjoy a huuge trade surplus with us and hold a fair share of our national debt. Beware of China. It was a sleeping giant which has now awakened.

  5. Steve says:

    “couple of cars in the early 1900’s”

    Do your due diligence mr. knowitall.

    Way more and way bigger than “couple of cars in the early 1900’s”
    NYC had charging stations everywhere in the city. Owens Magnetic built trucks used for interstate commerce.

    Absolutely everything you claim after that false premise you set up is moot. Moreover, worthless.

    As for China…of course. But then you hate the idea they manipulate currency and work hard to ensure their operations have trade advantages second to none. You really are a true believer.

  6. Rincon says:

    OK, there were lots of electric cars in the early days of autos and they had charging stations. So what?

    BTW. last April, your fearless leader himself said that China was not a currency manipulator. You believe him, don’t you?

  7. Steve says:

    “your fearless leader”

    you assume much Mr. Magoo.

    I didn’t vote for the the current President. I voted for the pothead.

  8. Rincon says:

    Good for you. I kind of assumed (wrongly, it appears) that you had morphed into a Trumpkin after the primary, just as the Republican Party and most of the Conservatives here have. I knew there was a spark of intelligence in there somewhere. Now, if you could force yourself to say at least a negative word or two about the fountain of hate that we call our President, your prognosis would improve markedly. Tacit support is as bad as active support in this case.

  9. Steve says:

    “fountain of hate that we call our President”

    You never spent any time in our military…I can dislike a leader even as I support the decisions that leader makes.

    It only took 40 years or so, but even Nixon was finally recognized for opening China….what will you say if Trump ends up putting a solid set of roots into solving the Korean conflict?

    I say this as the Macrons just finished dining with the Trumps at Mt Vernon.

    Sush hate, you spew.

  10. Rincon says:

    It’s possible that Trump’s methods could yield dividends in some areas of foreign policy. As with Kim Jong Un, everybody fears a crazy man. That can be used to advantage. Nevertheless, Trump has managed to teach the rest of the world that America is not a dependable ally. He also illustrates to the world some of the great weaknesses of our system, making democracy far less attractive to other cultures.

    As for hate, let’s just say I have no respect for the man and am entirely suspicious of his every move. Call it hate if you like, but I wish him no ill. I don’t see how calling him out on his destructive behavior equals hate. I just want to stop him from doing more harm.

  11. Rincon says:

    Interesting how our standards as a people have dropped. I recall Gary Hart and John Edwards’ Presidential bids being torpedoed by evidence of extramarital affairs. People decided that if a man’s wife couldn’t trust him, then we shouldn’t either. John Kerry’s campaign shattered over allegations that he lied about his military service – the infamous swift boat story. Now, we selected and elected a candidate who is and was a prolific liar and philanderer, and by his own admission, a sexual predator. We also ignored the voluminous smoke from the Russian connection and his open leveraging of his high office for personal profit. Ironically, Bible thumping Evangelicals are among his most ardent supporters. We’ve come a long way, baby.

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