Hawaii to get extensive EV charging network in 2012

by Ernie Hernandez on March 2, 2012

HawaiiBetter Place offers over 130 EV charge points

Better Place announced a network of over 130 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui and Oahu. The network will offer free charging through the end of the year with membership plans available effective January 1, 2013. In addition to the development of charging networks, Better Place is installing battery swapping stations in Israel, Copenhagen and China for specifically designed electric vehicles.

It would seem that if any location would be an ideal place to own an electric car, the state of Hawaii would be it. The Big Island (Hawaii) is roughly 90 miles across from Hilo to Kailua-Kona. Every other island offers significantly shorter commutes. Also with gasoline already averaging over $4.00 a gallon, the idea of owning an electric car becomes even more appealing. Better Place began the installation of charge stations in April 2011 in Waikiki.

Visitors to the Aloha State need not be left out. Enterprise Rent-A-Car began adding Nissan LEAFs to its fleet in Oahu last year. Currently the Nissan LEAF is the only fully electric vehicle offered, but hybrid vehicles are available also to help you minimize your carbon footprint while on the island.

The power company, Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), is also looking to reduce their dependence on imported oil – the primary source for their power currently. The state has implemented a mandate that by 2030 40 percent of the state’s energy is to be derived from renewable sources. Currently they are already over half way there, and Hawaiian Electric has stated that their goal is to exceed the mandate requirement. If you live in Hawaii, make sure to check out the special EV charging rates offered by HECO.

“Drive Electric Days” will be hosted on the Big Island and on Maui in support of this network launch. See the press release for details.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly Downey March 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Hey Ernie, This is a start but the bulk of the population lives on the windward side (Hilo) but the bulk of the chargers are on the Leeward side (Kona). It is a two hour drive 90 miles that goes from sea level to over 4 thousand feet back to sea level. So by the time I got to one of the chargers on the leeward side I would maybe have 1 bar. At 220 charging it would be there for at least 6 hours to get back to Hilo. Unless the chargers were solar powered, (which I do not think they are), The fee for that 6 hours of juice could be really high. KW hours on the Big Island are at least 30 cents a KW.
In summary, it is good that there are going to be chargers but their usefulness will be very limiting. Quick chargers are the only way that EVs will ever really take off. Aloha, Kelly

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Ernie Hernandez (LEAFguy) March 5, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Kelly – I did see that the Big Island can use a better dispersion of charge stations. I did not realize that the greater population is near Hilo, although I did see a lot of new housing developments the last time I was there. With any luck the Hilo Nissan store will become LEAF certified and that will give you at least two charging docks in Hilo. But you’re right – a DC fast charger on each side of the island would improve things greatly.

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