GUEST COLUMN:

Electric cars are the smart choice in Nevada

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Reed Saxon / AP

Chevrolet Spark autos are on display following their debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011.

I am the proud owner of an all-electric Chevrolet Spark, which I bought used two and a half years ago. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I’ll explain why.

My wife and I have lived in Las Vegas for many years. I worked as an audio engineer and college instructor, and my wife as an artist. We moved out of state for work and later moved back to Las Vegas in late 2018.

The financial toll of those moves was significant, and once I went back to work here, it became clear that we needed a second vehicle. Because of our financial situation, I was concerned about the expense of buying and operating another car.

Growing up with a father who was an auto mechanic, I had always been interested in cars. My mother worked as a housing inspector and taught me a lot about clean energy, such as wind and solar. Much later, I watched the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and that led me to follow the news about hybrids, electric vehicles (EVs) and clean energy for more than two decades.

I knew from my reading that electric and hybrid vehicles were becoming more widely available. So I did extensive research on the cost of owning alternative fuel vehicles versus conventional gasoline-powered ones — including fuel, maintenance, insurance and more — and found that it was much cheaper to drive electric. I also discovered that even though a brand new hybrid or EV was not in my budget, there were several preowned models that could, in fact, be affordable.

To learn more, I started attending meetings of the local Las Vegas Electric Vehicle Association (LVEVA) and asked additional questions about things like battery reliability, range, charging and other drivers’ experiences with used vehicles. From all this, I developed criteria for my car based on my budget and my specific needs, and made the decision to buy a used EV. My search led me to the Chevrolet Spark EV, but due to Nevada’s lack of availability, I was forced to purchase from an out-of-state dealer and have the car shipped to me.

Driving my first EV has exceeded my expectations in nearly every way. I have been thrilled with the convenience of electric charging — both on the road and at home — as well as the dramatic decrease in fuel and maintenance costs. It also does my heart good that my vehicle is contributing no additional tailpipe pollution to my city (in part, due to my home being powered by 100% clean energy). And that doesn’t even take into account that the car is surprisingly quick off the line and very nimble in traffic.

My journey to find the right EV for my family was long and winding, but yours doesn’t have to be. Gov. Steve Sisolak directed the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection to pursue clean car standards. After these standards are adopted, more low- and zero-emission vehicles will be available for you to test drive, learn about, and buy at Nevada’s dealerships. Additionally, our state and local leaders can continue to invest in EV charging stations and programs that will make EV ownership easy.

Please join me and support programs that lead to more clean, affordable, electric vehicle options — powered by more of Nevada’s local geothermal and solar energy — available for sale in Nevada. You too could benefit from the cleaner air and lower cost of ownership.

Paul Bordenkircher is a board member of the Las Vegas Electric Vehicle Association, a local chapter of the International Electric Auto Association.