As clean transportation awareness and consumer electric vehicle (EV) options grow, more states, municipalities and organizations are joining the EV movement. The state of Hawaii is a prime example of an evolving EV ecosystem driven by state clean energy goals and consumer interest.
Economically, electric transportation makes sense for the State of Hawaii. With approximately 90% of Hawaii’s energy imported in the form of fossil fuels, there is great interest in finding sustainable sources of power. The State of Hawaii has teamed up with the Department of Energy (DOE) to work toward converting 70% of its energy demand from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2030. Hawaii is aggressively pursuing green energy solutions and offering incentives for both business and consumers who participate in clean energy initiatives. And naturally, electric vehicle charging infrastructure is a large component of Hawaii’s larger energy transition.
The nature of Hawaii’s geography lends itself well to electric transportation. Hawaii was the first state to enact legislation for electric public parking requirements on a per-capita basis. Funding through programs like the EV Ready Grant and state funded incentives for EV owners have paved the way for EV infrastructure. AV has won grants from the State of Hawaii as well as the County of Kauai to deploy public EVSE charging infrastructure throughout the state. In addition to these public grants, the residential EVSE charging rebate program instituted by the State provides a $500 rebate on top of federal rebates to lower the cost of the equipment and installation to EV owners.
Working with several key stake holders such as the Hawaii Auto Dealers Association (HADA), Hawaii Electric Company (HECO), Hawaii State Energy Office as well as OEM partners such as Nissan and Mitsubishi, AV has established a strong EV charging infrastructure presence in the State. Over the last year, AV has installed charging stations in hundreds of Hawaiian homes, creating the largest residential installed base in the State. In addition, the EV Ready Grant enabled AV to work with all major utilities in Hawaii (Hawaii Electric Company, Maui Electric Company and the Hawaii electric and light company) to install private, public, and semi-public charging stations throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Working with multiple stakeholders - including tourist destinations, shopping malls, retail outlets, and rental car companies – charging stations were installed in highly visible locations with easy access for EV owners and EV rental car drivers. AV has been working with many of these stakeholders to allocate available state grants to support up to 50% of the overall equipment and installation costs at each location.
The County of Kauai has allocated funding to install charging stations at municipal locations and state beaches, all publicly accessible. Many public charging station sites even offer cost-free or highly subsidized refueling.
In addition to its network of Level 2 charging stations, the state of Hawaii plans to build out Level 3 DC fast charging infrastructure. The islands of Oahu, Maui, and Kauai will be the first in the state to be outfitted with AeroVironment’s public DC fast charging technology, allowing EV drivers to refill their car’s battery in a fraction of the time compared to the Level 2 AC regimen.
All the publicly available Level 2 AC and Level 3 DC fast charging stations are part of a growing fee-based network of charging stations managed by AeroVironment; all charging locations are easily accessible with an RFID card similar to a gas station’s “fast pass.”
Given electric vehicle incentives, subscriber network build-outs, geographic advantages and government backing, the state of Hawaii currently boasts the highest concentration of EVs on a per-capita basis. Public policy makers and consumers have worked together to create clean transportation infrastructure that can be utilized by the public, making Hawaii a perfect example of an EV ecosystem.