Hawaii Steps Up Its Electric Vehicle Game

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 11

The EV Battery Charger at the Demonstration Site for Japan-U.S. Island Grid Project in Hawaii - Lots of Chargers Here

The EV Battery Charger at the Demonstration Site for Japan-U.S. Island Grid Project in Hawaii – Lots of Chargers Here

Better Times: The Israeli Company Announces That Their Charging Network Would Be Coming To Hawaii In December of 2008...It Has Since Been Sold Off

Better Times: The Israeli Company Announced That Its Charging Network Would Be Coming To Hawaii In December of 2008…It Has Since Been Sold Off…Leaving EV Owners In Hawaii In Search Of More Charging Stations

“There have been at least two recent victories in what electric car advocates say has been a long uphill battle to make the vehicles viable on Hawaii Island.”

States West Hawaii Today.

Those two victories include the following: a new fast-charge station for EVs was unveiled in South Kohala in July and Kona Nissan began selling the Nissan LEAF.

We’ve covered the electric vehicle/charging situation extensively here at InsideEVs, with most of our focus being on failed efforts, lacking infrastructure and so on, but recent developments are encouraging.

Justin Ako, service adviser at Kona Nissan stated:

“We sold a bunch [of LEAFs] and just got a bunch in.  The sales department tells me a lot of people have been asking about them, and that’s a good thing.”

Douglas Teeple, founder of the Big Island EV Association and owner of a LEAF, stated:

“We’ve been pushing so hard on these guys [at Kona Nissan].”

Prior to Kona Nissan selling LEAFs on the Big Island, the EVs were either shipped in from Oahu or from the U.S. mainland.  Service was conducted in Oahu too, meaning that owning a LEAF on the Big Island wasn’t all that pleasant an experience.

Michael Oh, general manager at the Shops at Mauna Lani, commented:

“Without the infrastructure to support it, we’re all reluctant to purchase right away.”

The goal is for fast chargers to circle the Big Island.  Per Charge Bliss CEO David Bliss:

“You can take a car with a 75 mile range and will easily get cut down to 50 miles.”

“You just can’t wait four hours for your vehicle to charge.  It’s not realistic. Our plan is for eight to nine charging stations around the belt road, but also on Saddle Road. We’re looking for places to partner with, like the Shops at Mauna Lani.”

We must say that we’re enthusiastic to see the Big Island finally warming up to electric vehicles.  Solar is apparently gaining traction there too.

Source: West Hawaii Today

Tags: ,

11 responses to "Hawaii Steps Up Its Electric Vehicle Game"

  1. Aaron says:

    Eric, for readability, put the “States West Hawaii Today” part before the quote like this:

    West Hawaii Today states:

    “blah, blah…”

    Otherwise, it appears there is a sentence after the quotation. “States West Hawaii Today.”

    Also, let’s not go crazy with the ellipses in the callouts. An en dash would be more appropriate there.

  2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Given Hawaii’s reliance on imported oil for electricity generation (and its resulting super-high cost), EVs are a nonstarter without solar, geothermal or nuclear. You end up paying a higher price for the battery yet not saving much in ‘fuel’ costs.

    Unless, of course, EV builders put free solar charging stations around the islands…

  3. Assaf says:

    Great news!

    Perhaps the association should also write to that newspaper, explaining that EVs are already *very* viable in Hawaii. Unless I am mistaken, you can drive around any island except the Big Island, surely with a 2011-2 Leaf and possibly even a MiEV.

    On the Big Island itself, a 2013-5 Leaf can easily travel over the Saddle Road end-to-end (although it would need recharging for the return trip).

    So the effort is really to make BEVs essentially ICE-equivalent on all Hawaii islands. As the post states, this would require no more than 10 QC stations on the Big Island and far fewer than that on the other islands. And O’ahu and Maui already seem to have most of what’s needed.

    1. ozz says:

      Assaf,
      The Leaf can NOT easily make the trip over Saddle road from coast to coast easily. I don’t think it’s even EVER been tried. My friend Eric has made the trip both directions in his ’13 Leaf but he stopped short of the coast on the west side when he did the westward trip, and started at 800′ elevation about 6 miles from the coast.
      I think it’s possible to make the journey from Hilo to Kona.. but NOT the journey from Kona to Hilo because it’s a longer journey from coast to summit when headed EAST!!

  4. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

    A big part of the problem was that the owner of the Hilo dealership reportedly didn’t sell the LEAF because he “didn’t believe in global warming”.

    1. ozz says:

      The owner of the Hilo Dealership is the SAME owner of the Kona dealership… It’s been no secret that he wasn’t overly enthused about bringing/selling the LEAF on the big Island, but I’m not to sure about the idea that he is a “climate denier” and therefore wouldn’t sell the Leaf. The two aren’t even closely entangled. EV’s are more closely related to “Peak Oil” debates than climate change.
      But ya know what, I can go down to the Nissan Dealer in Hilo today if you want. I can ask him for a direct answer. Would that help?

      1. Phoenix says:

        When I checked with Nissan dealership in Hilo in early January 2014, they had no Leafs for sale or rent. Only found out after following up since my initial inquiry was ignored.

  5. Alan says:

    I have some friends in Kauai that plan to get a Leaf shortly. They recently installed a large solar array on their house that should cover their home and transportation power needs. Electric power is generally expensive on the islands (like $0.40/Kw-Hr) because more of the power generation uses petroleum; without solar, the economics don’t work out. However, with the solar installation it is quite reasonable. Kauai is small enough that they would rarely need to travel beyond the round-trip range of their car.

    1. ozz says:

      We did the same thing for our House in Hilo as our rate on the Big Island is $.42/kwh.
      Our 5.2kw system provides enough energy to cover our house and Volt usage! 🙂

  6. shrink says:

    I got married on the Big Island earlier this year and I do hope to live there one day – probably Kailua-Kona. I saw a few LEAF’s, maybe one Volt, and one Model S. Saddle Road would be a great place for quick chargers. Waimea as well. I’m glad they are trying.

    I also just got back from Maui where I spend the week of Labor Day. Stayed in the Ka’anapali area and just driving around that week I saw about 30 LEAF’s (some of them might have been the same LEAF on different days); one black Volt; and two white Model S’s. There seemed to be a decent number of L2 charging stations in the Ka’anapali area. Ran into one LEAF owner at Star Noodle (great restaurant in case anyone is wondering). He said the range was great for his commuting needs and that he often charged at work (which was one of the resorts).

  7. Spec9 says:

    Hawaii should push hard to get V2G stuff working in EVs. With all the renewable energy they are going to have, it would be nice to coordinate with EVs to tell them when it is best to charge or not.