Hawaii Reaches Milestone Of 5,000 Electric Cars On The Road

JAN 7 2017 BY MARK KANE 19

Hawaii has celebrated the milestone of having its 5,000th electric vehicle registered in the state.

For some perspective on the growth, in September 2015 it was about 3,750.

That’s about 0.3% of the total fleet of of over 1 million light cars and trucks, which is second highest results per capita in the US (after California).

“Hawaii is second in the nation (after California) in per capita electric vehicle registrations and a leader in charging facilities. Despite low gasoline prices, plug-in passenger vehicles registered in the state increased 26 percent last year. At the same time, gasoline and diesel vehicle registrations fell by 4 percent and 3 percent respectively.”



Hawaii’s EV laws and incentives include:

  • Free parking is provided in state and county government lots, facilities, and at parking meters.
  • Vehicles with EV license plates are exempt from High Occupancy Vehicle lane restrictions.
  • Parking lots with at least 100 public parking spaces are required to have at least one parking space, equipped with an EV charging system, reserved exclusively for EVs.
  • Non-EVs parked in a space designated and marked as reserved for EVs shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $100.
  • Hawaiian Electric Co. offer EV Time of Use Rates designed to incentivize customers, through lower rates, to charge their EVs during off-peak times of day.
  • Multi-family residential dwellings or townhomes cannot prohibit the placement or use of EV charging systems altogether.

On crossing 5,000 EV registrations, eight energy companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding and launched Drive Electric Hawaii organization to promote electric transportation for a clean energy future.

Drive Electric Hawaii seeks to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles through coordinated collaboration, and to make it easier to expand vehicle-charging infrastructure in a way that brings more renewable energy onto the electric grid.

The new organization’s launch coincides with registration of the 5,000th electric vehicle in Hawaii.

Founding participants are:

  • Blue Planet Foundation
  • Hawai‘i State Department of Transportation (HDOT)
  • Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT)
  • Hawaii State Division of Consumer Advocacy
  • the Hawaiian Electric Companies (including Maui Electric and Hawai‘i Electric Light)
  • Kauai Island Utility Cooperative
  • Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Ulupono Initiative

The Drive Electric Hawaii shared vision includes:

  • Building a broad coalition in support of renewable transportation
  • Encouraging use of electric vehicles
  • Increasing electric vehicle charging opportunities that support 100 percent renewable energy
  • Developing policies, regulations and laws to unlock the full value of electrified transportation

Hawaii generates about 36% of electricity for renewable sources. The goal by 2023 is 50%.

Richard Wallsgrove of Blue Planet Foundation said:

“We are in the midst of a massive transformation. Electric vehicles can use renewable energy, enabling us to drastically reduce our state’s carbon pollution. At the same time, electric vehicles can help to lower the cost of energy for everyone. This can be a true win-win.”

More about EV progress in Hawaii here and here.

Categories: General


Leave a Reply

19 Comments on "Hawaii Reaches Milestone Of 5,000 Electric Cars On The Road"

newest oldest most voted

With all the EV incentives available to Hawaiians and only 5000 EVs on the road…that’s pitiful and shameful…hey Hawaiians pull your heads out of your ARSE and embrace EV transition.

Hawaii needs to get the power rates down. They can’t do that until all the diesel power plants are paid off.

Part of it may be the high cost of electricity. The off peak time of use is still 18c per kWh. There is also an additional fee of 2c for each kWh over 1200 per month. Then again gas is around $3 a gallon, so it is relative I guess.

The cost of gas there is trivial. You can’t drive anywhere so even if it is high per gallon, there’s few gallons needed to burn. So there is exactly none economic incentive regardless of the relative prices of gas and electricity. Basically the only way the government will get conversion in any meaningful way is through massive action.

No place could be more perfect for EV adoption. No need for range anxiety, plenty of sun for solar charging not to mention offshore breezes for night wind power.

What with gas costing an arm and a couple legs over there, and no shortage of wealthy inhabitants, I agree it’s surprising that is all there is so far.

Tom, James, others, I live in Hawaii and can tell you that you have no idea what it is the problems we face here. Even with the high cost of gas, electricity is MORE! Imagine paying the equivalent of $5.50/gallon for electricity for your car, powered off of oil burning power plants. Sure, we have solar on our house to help offset, but what about public charging. Many don’t do it because station owners have to pay upwards of about $.75/kWh to deliver it to our cars at peak rates. Most pass on that cost to us, leaving us with around $3/hour rates. And sure, the Oahu and Kauai folks have no range anxiety due to the small island, but the same CANNOT be said for the large and MOUNTAINOUS Maui and Big Island. Most of the island is devoid of charging options (outside Hilo and Kona) and with mountains and 100 miles in between towns, you tell me how a LEAF can roam about??? My Chevy Volt was a much better option for traversing the 7000′ mountain pass, but there are other problems to contend with. No dealer support. We have one Toyota dealer on the island who is… Read more »


@Cody, thanks for the perspective, and shame on those dissing on Hawaiians (who are among the top EV adopters in the US, as the story says) without knowing squat.

I hope the new organization makes a hard push for better infrastructure and support on the Big Island, the only island where 80-mile BEVs must use QC to get across it, but where plugshare shows only 3 QC locations, all of them in towns rather than strategically located (story chart has 4; probably one location is dual).

Contrast with the number on Maui, a much smaller island with a slightly smaller population, and some locations sport quadruple QCs. If all else fails, I’d seriously consider dismantling a few of the redundant ones and shipping them to install on the Big Island. We did a similar trick at Intel with semiconductor-manufacturing machines, much larger beasts which required a far more complicated re-installation, saving over half the overall cost, and it worked with almost no issue.

O’ahu north and northwest coast would also benefit from a couple QC locations.

…and a couple more in Kaua’i, of course.

And perhaps income-based incentives like California did. There’s a huge gap between rich and poor, in particular Native Hawai’ian communities.

The biggest impediment to riding an electric bicycle there, or anywhere, is cars!

Cody when flood insurance rates skyrocket because of sea level rise it will cost all of us more than $5.50/gallon for an electric vehicle and don’t expect a government handout to pay for flood insurance.

Perfect place for an electric beach cruiser.

Perfect place for electric bicycles. An order of magnitude more efficient that electric cars.

Yeah, try to carry your Costco haul on an electric bicycle.

Or drive 70 miles and over the 7000-foot pass across the middle of the Big Island.

Or 40 miles end-to-end in any of the other major islands.


Easy…it’s called a cargo bike.


Actually rode there on a pedal bike years ago. On an electric it would be a piece of cake.

How about 203 miles a day. Did that this summer.

12,775 miles in 2016….and we get winter here.

You again with the bike? Isn’t there a bike enthusiast site you should post at 🙂

Seriously dude not many people want to or will ride a bike be it electric or not for very valId reasons.

Not everyone on EV sights is a car buff. Some are actually more interested in EVs as a possible aid to reducing pollution.

You obviously haven’t been to Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, or many other countries where bicycle riding is common and well-supported by the infrastructure. This isn’t true in Hawaii where riding a bicycle forces one to break the law when riding on sidewalks or risk death by sharing roads with motor vehicles.

We split our time between Honolulu and Uppsala, Sweden. In Honolulu, we rarely ride our bikes instead driving our BEV or walking, when possible, while in Uppsala with its much less favorable weather but great bicycle infrastructure, we ride our bikes for transportation, shopping, etc., and rarely drive our gasoline-electric hybrid car.

Assaf, I’m seriously surprised by that comment of yours, esp. since you’re a Seattle-area resident… One of the top US cargo-bicycle markets. I don’t think Warren was implying it could replace every car in Hawaii. Sure, an e-bike can’t replace 100% of car use cases — but it doesn’t have to, to make a lot of sense environmentally — as a statistician, you should know that. On a per-mile basis, e-bikes use a tenth the electricity of cars. Once energy embodied in production is taken into account, it’s a lot worse (the energy embodied in the production of a Tesla battery alone is good for a million miles of e-bike travel). Assuming decent bike paths exist, a 2-car household where one car is driven <15mi/day with the driver only day can certainly replace it car with an e-bike. Even if climate-wise the e-bike can only be used half the year, it still makes economic sense. Anyway, check out this company in your backyard… a cargo e-bike for $1600 that can take an adult & 2 kids, or 170lbs of cargo. That's a pretty decent Costco load, I think. Annual maintenance is probably ~$50-60. http://www.radpowerbikes.com/products/radwagon-electric-cargo-bike They've been selling pretty well, and… Read more »