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Nevada is in an electric car evolution

In January 2006, President George W. Bush was midway through his second term. The country was still embroiled in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and congressional elections would be in November. Bush’s State of the Union address included one remarkable statement and some important policy initiatives:

“Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world …

“We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen… Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.”

On June 14, 2007, Senate Finance Committee members Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., introduced the Freedom Act to promote plug-in, electric-drive vehicles throughout the country.

“With the rapid industrialization of countries like India and China, the demand for gasoline is unprecedented, and that’s translated into higher costs at the pump,” Hatch said. “We’re already feeling the pain of that, and it’ll get worse unless we start shifting our transportation sector away from liquid fuels and on to electrons. The best way to motivate that shift is with these market-based incentives, rather than federal mandates.”

“Developing environmentally friendly fuel alternatives for vehicles is a critical step we can take to reduce America’s consumption of foreign oil and combat global climate change,” Obama said. “The technology to produce energy alternatives exists, and we must provide the appropriate incentives to encourage consumer and manufacturer use. Supporting energy-efficient technology and electric vehicles would also help the American auto industry regain its competitive edge.”

The Freedom Act was not passed in 2007, but did become part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, after Obama was elected president.

In February 2011, Nevada government and business leaders gathered at Desert Research Institute offices in Reno and Las Vegas to establish an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Readiness Task Force that would prepare the state for these new transportation technologies. Could Nevada residents really give up internal combustion engines in exchange for electromagnetic motor systems?


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