About two percent of new vehicles purchased in Nevada are electric vehicles, according to a study by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). While that number may seem small, it grew 80 percent just in 2018.

According to the study, Nevadans who drive electric vehicles save an average of 1,264 dollars a year in gas and maintenance costs.

Matt Frommer, who conducted the study for SWEEP, says over the last nine years, the price of lithium ion batteries dropped about 80 percent. That's the main contributor to cost reduction for electric vehicles.

"You combine the tax credits and the lower cost of lithium ion batteries," Frommer says. "Those are becoming affordable in the mid-20 [thousands]."

He says as time goes on, and with the growing popularity, the market for used electric cars is growing as well.

"Today you can buy a used 2015 Nissan Leaf for under 10 thousand dollars," Frommer says.

According to the study Nevada has the cleanest grid in the nation. That means the electricity produced in the state in cleaner than all the other states.

"An electric vehicle is only as green as the grid that charges it, and if that grid is full of coal, it's about equivalent with greenhouse gas emissions [as a gas vehicle,]" Frommer says. "Compare an electric vehicle to a gas powered car in Nevada, driving an EV is like driving a car that gets 101 miles per gallon from a greenhouse gas perspective."

If Ballot Question 6 in 2018 passes again in 2020, then 50 percent of the energy Nevada produces must be renewable by 2030. Frommer says if that's the case, electric vehicles would get more than 200 miles per gallon from a greenhouse gas perspective.

Air Quality Management Chief for the Washoe County Health District Daniel Inouye says the Environmental Protection Agency has a threshold of particles in the air to measure air quality. He says Washoe County normally sits just below that threshold. But if the county were to rise above it, they would have to set up programs to improve air quality, which could cost.

He also says that threshold is considered unsafe for breathing, and poor air quality could turn businesses away from the area.

"What that could mean is our area, whether it's our county or state, is less attractive for new business to come to or expand," Inouye says.

Inouye says the growing population in northern Nevada is certainly contributing to more fuel emissions, so handling the growth in population is vital to keeping air quality high. He says cars and trucks are the leading cause of air pollution, so electric vehicles are certainly an improvement. But building infrastructure that promotes other means of transportation can effective as well.

"So instead of driving a car we're able to bike or walk," Inouye says. "Those are the best transportation methods because they have zero tailpipe emissions."

Charging stations can be a concern for some potential buyers, but the state is currently constructing an "electric highway," where a total of 38 high-rate charging stations will be built between Reno and Las Vegas. High-rate charging stations would fully charge any vehicle in 10 to 15 minutes. It's set to be done in the next few years.

Still, there are other areas of need. Assemblywoman Sarah Peters of the 24th district says there are no charging stations between Carson City and Fallon, which makes it less viable for residents in the area, and employees at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Complex, to buy an electric car.

Peters brought up the state's effort to build wi-fi infrastructure in rural areas as one of the possible avenues to bring charging stations to rural areas. Combining infrastructure projects could expedite charging station construction across the state.