Transportation Electrification Working Group

Clark County and government partners across Southern Nevada have adopted goals related to improving air quality, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, and protecting public health.  The transportation sector is responsible for harmful pollutants such as particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5), and nitrous oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) that are precursors to the formation of ozone and contributors to various respiratory and other health related illnesses.  Specifically in Clark County, transportation accounts for 7% of PM 2.5 generated and vehicle emissions are the dominant source of NOx at 39% and VOC at 21%. Additionally, at 36%, transportation is the second largest source of GHG emissions in Clark County.
To address these ongoing emissions, improve air quality and public health, and meet climate goals, regional and municipal plans such as Southern Nevada Strong and the On Board Mobility Plan include reducing car dependency and increasing mobility options for residents.  However, as Clark County’s population continues to grow, so will the number of vehicles on the road. Therefore, it is imperative that we also electrify our region’s transportation system and ensure we are continuously increasing the percentage of renewable energy on the grid. 
The urgency to address climate change and air pollution is an important factor, but the reality is that electric vehicles (EVs) are here, and they are poised to be the future. It is in the County’s best interest to prepare now to meet the infrastructure needs of a growing EV market.  
Every major vehicle manufacturer in the world is shifting its production to EVs.  EVs are increasing in market share and 20% of all new cars are expected to be electric by 2025, 50% by 2030 and 100% by 20401. In addition, national and state policies such as President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and Clean Cars Nevada are driving market transformation to EVs.  As the number of EVs increase, Clark County must be prepared to strategically supply the infrastructure necessary to meet this demand.  The time to plan for this new infrastructure is now.  Most EV infrastructure will be tied to development. Local buildings constructed today will be in service for at least the next 50 years.  Local units of government can help avoid costly building retrofits such as electrical system upgrades, demolitions and rebuilds, and soft costs such as permits, inspections and approvals by planning for EV infrastructure now.    
There are some communities that have been reactive to the transition to EVs, and it has resulted in charging infrastructure in places that does not suit users or is not ideal for the local government. In a poll conducted by Green Car Report in 2019, 74% of respondents agreed that electric cars are the future and 61% cited lack of charging infrastructure as the biggest factor holding back their purchase. If local governments are proactive, they can play a key role in reducing barriers to EV ownership and operation while also guiding infrastructure to where it is most appropriate. Clark County has already been leading in this regard with the largest alternatively fueled vehicle fleet in the state. There is much that can be gleaned from that success for a broader community-wide effort.
In April 2021, as part of its All-In Clark County Sustainability and Climate Action Initiative, the Clark County Board of County Commissioners provided direction to staff of the Department of Environment and Sustainability (DES) to seek input from stakeholders and interested parties on a potential EV infrastructure ordinance.  Staff held a workshop in June 2021 to learn about the issues, barriers and opportunities to adopting an EV infrastructure ordinance.  Staff learned the following:
    1. There is no lead authority for transportation electrification in Southern Nevada;
    2. Energy load and delivery planning for transportation electrification in Clark County is in its infancy and is hampered by complex assumptions based on past practices that do not account for future conditions;
    3. Costs at the parcel level can be easily calculated, but total energy infrastructure costs upstream are not well understood or easily calculated; and
    4. There is a desire for consistency by developers and the utility regarding EV infrastructure requirements that may be adopted by local governments.