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USA: Air district encourages locals to buy electric vehicles

VICTORVILLE • Encouraging local residents to use electric vehicles, the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District has installed a free charging station at its Victorville headquarters.

The local air quality agency received a grant from the California Energy Commission to build the station. There are about 110 all-electric vehicles in the desert district according to calculations based on the area’s population, said Holly Noel, grants program coordinator for the MDAQMD.

“We want to increase the comfort levels of people buying electric vehicles,” Noel said. “We want to be able to set an example.”

But is it worth it for desert residents, many of whom commute to the Los Angeles Basin, to buy electric vehicles with limited travel distance?

The answer depends on their lifestyle and driving habits.

Orlando Salinas, who works for the MDAQMD, leased a Nissan Leaf six months ago.

The 36-year-old commutes from Rialto to Victorville, about 50 miles one way, every weekday. Because he drives up the Cajon Pass, Salinas uses up almost the entire battery in the morning before he recharges it at the MDAQMD station. When he gets home, he charges the car overnight using a regular outlet.

A major setback for all-electric vehicles is the limited travel distance on a single charge.


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