By Caleb Cage and Max Turner, Reno Gazette Journal, September 27, 2023
By supporting recent electric vehicle (EV) legislation, Governor Lombardo and the Nevada State Legislature have primed Nevada to become America’s hub of EV battery manufacturing and lithium sourcing. This will bring thousands of good jobs and billions of dollars to the state. It will also position Nevada to be a critical partner in achieving America’s national security goals and its ability to fight climate change.
In the first quarter of 2023, EV sales in Nevada made up over 15 percent of the market, a clear shift in favor of EVs. This reflects a national trend, which has increased a full 10 percent since 2020. The transition to EVs is a huge opportunity to establish the supply chains needed to produce EVs domestically, increasing our global competitiveness and cretiang jobs at home.
In his January State of the State speech, Gov. Lombardo promised that Nevada will be “the most entrepreneurial-friendly state in the nation,” cementing the state’s position as “pro-business, pro-development.”
One month later, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development released a five-year comprehensive plan saying, “Nevada is positioned to be ground zero for the energy transition and to play a key role in securing the energy independence and security of the United States.”
Nevada is home to several of the largest and most advanced lithium projects in the country, with many companies exploring for lithium deposits as well. We have now positioned ourselves to become the lithium capital of North America. However, mining alone will not make us the hubs of “innovation and talent” the governor promised. We need chemical engineering, battery and component manufacturing, vehicle assembly, recycling, and other EV supply chain partners sited in Nevada to bring billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the state.
A strong local market and pro-EV policies play a major role in the siting of EV battery and vehicle manufacturing plants. We applaud Governor Lombardo and the Nevada State Legislature for passing AB 262, which modernizes the state fleet’s procurement process to consider total cost of ownership when purchasing public vehicles, and The Clean Trucks and Buses Incentive Program — AB 184. Nevada continues to show its national leadership, and will allow Nevadans to reap the benefits of transportation electrification, including substantial taxpayer savings and cleaner air.
A recent study by the Electrification Coalition showed that 92% of the state’s fleet vehicles analyzed could electrify and realize taxpayer savings for the state over the lifetime of the vehicles, which the U.S. Department of Energy estimatesto be between 12 and 15 years. These savings can be realized even without grants and rebates. The Nevada government fleet will now save an average of 22% over the lifetime of the vehicles analyzed, with all-electric replacements creating savings of almost 40% in some cases. That’s real money that will make a big difference in communities across the state.
By passing key legislation and incentivizing critical development in the North of the state, Nevada is not only protecting U.S. national security and establishing itself as a national and international leader in the clean transportation future, but also creating jobs at home, saving taxpayers money, and helping our nation achieve its decarbonization goals for generations to come.
The EV moment is here. Let’s keep driving it forward.
Caleb Cage founded Arc Dome Strategies in 2022 and serves as the founding executive director of the Nevada Battery Coalition. Max Turner is a campaigns organizer for the Electrification Coalition, working to engage with communities to encourage and support the adoption of electric vehicles and mobilize stakeholders.