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The Great Green Hope

A future where Hawai‘i drivers lead the clean transportation movement is not far off.

December 8, 2011
Mike Bissonette · AeroVironment , The Maui Weekly

You may be stopped at a red light and not realize the car sitting right next to you is new-and very different from other vehicles on the road. Some look like beautiful Italian race cars; others like beloved family sedans. All whiz by with barely a sound and surprisingly swift acceleration. Best of all, they promise to make our lives and our world better-with zero on-road emissions and freedom from gas stations.

The electric vehicle (EV) has history in the islands; Hawai'i has always been at the forefront of clean transportation. In the 1990s, the state was one of the first to build out an extensive network of passenger-EV charging stations. Today, with the launch of the Nissan Leaf and other electric models, Hawai'i residents are lining up to purchase EVs, and the state government is again demonstrating its commitment to the long-term success of clean transportation.

In perhaps its greatest demonstration of commitment, Hawai'i now requires that all publicly accessible parking lots with more than 100 spaces be equipped with at least one EV charging station by the end of this year. Hawai'i is supporting its parking lot charging initiative with an EV-ready program and other incentives designed to make electric transportation appealing to both drivers and the businesses they frequent.

To help local businesses and government offices meet this growing need, the state is offering instant savings through recipients of its Hawai'i EV Ready Grant Program. The savings require no formal grant preparation on the purchaser's part; savings are applied to the total cost of the EV charging station purchased from a charging provider who is a recipient of the state grant program. These savings are up to 30 percent of the purchase price and are available until Feb. 29, 2012, or until program funds are exhausted. Federal tax credits can save buyers as much as 30 percent, up to $30,000. Additionally, Hawai'i EV Ready partner AeroVironment is offering complimentary site consultations to help businesses determine their charging needs and design site layouts. Businesses can submit their information for a free consultation at

Augmenting the Hawai'i EV Ready Grant Program is a consumer rebate program, designed to help residents by offering a 20 percent rebate on the vehicle purchase price (up to $4,500 per vehicle, one per applicant) and 30 percent off the cost of the charger and installation, up to a maximum of $500. On top of this, consumers can benefit from federal tax credits of up to $7,500 for the vehicle and up to $1,000 for the charger. Combined with the Hawai'i incentives, consumer savings could total as much as $13,500.

The Hawai'i State Energy Office is playing a critical leadership role in preparing for widespread EV adoption by facilitating EV infrastructure throughout the state in popular commercial locations.

A future where Hawai'i drivers lead the clean transportation movement is not far off; where residents refuel their cars with electrons instead of gas and augment nightly home refueling with EV charging at work, the mall and other opportune locations.

Also actively participating in Hawai'i's aggressive EV infrastructure movement are U.H. Manoa, HECO, MECO, HELCO and the Hawai'i Automobile Dealers Association.



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