The City of Las Vegas has firmly cemented itself as a supporter of alternative energy in the past, as well as with its recent purchase of one GM Chevy Volt. It hopes to grow to a mini-fleet of four EVs by the first quarter of 2012. As of now, city officials are employing it for normal city use (think short jaunts around town) to see how well it does in the searing hot climate, to establish maintenance costs, and to observe how well it works as a daily driver, according to City of Las Vegas spokeswoman Diana Paul.
The city might be the first government agency in Nevada to test the Chevy Volt. In the meantime, more than 90% of the city’s fleet of about 1,200 vehicles runs on alternative fuels like electricity, hydrogen, compressed natural gas, biodiesel, and hybrid technologies. The city also invests in alternative fuel production and infrastructure, for example, pioneering the world’s first hydrogen energy station in its Northwest Service Center in 2002.
Since EV’s are incomplete without EV infrastructure, the city is installing EV charging stations at various public facilities. The first EV station was installed at the Stupak Community Center, with additional EV stations planned in the future. This particular station is free to the public and solar powered through a 240 volt Blink Level 2 charging station (not part of the EV Project). According to Deb Massey, the coordinator at the community center, EV owners may simply use the Blink credit card to charge up the car. The money for the installation of the Blink charging station came from the President’s stimulus plan. When asked how many people were taking advantage of it, Ms. Massey said: “No one has yet. Part of the reason is, we’re in a very low income part of town so there’s no one with an electric car…anywhere near here.”
The Chevy Volt has been criticized for its high price tag, an interesting topic covered by many of our writers. The price tag wasn’t such an issue for Las Vegas, though. According to its press release, the “Volt was paid for with federal funding secured by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV), through a Department of Energy grant, and additional city funds as necessary through the Green Building Special Revenue Fund.” The Fund brings in revenue through utility rebates, energy savings and incremental increases in franchise fees.
Source: City of Las Vegas