Editor’s note: Maui EVA Director Anne Ku wants to clarify that the $200 per month increase in Christine Andrews’ electricity bill is much less than her previous $650 per month expense on gasoline (traveling from Wailuku to Makawao daily). So, the monthly savings are $450. The story has been modified below.
By Nikki Caccamo
Maui’s first fast-charging station for electric vehicles was unveiled today in Wailuku.
With the involvement of UH Maui College’s Maui EVA Project and the Maui Electric Auto Association, Maui County kicked off National Plug-in Day at 10:30 a.m. Friday beginning with a ribbon cutting and blessing by four-time Grammy-Award winner, George Kahumoku Jr.
Following a proclamation by Mayor Alan Arakawa, the first public DC Fast Charging Station fully charged its first EV at the parking lot in front of the Maui County building. The first EV to be charged was the Nissan Leaf and the fast charger can complete the task in as little as 20 minutes.
As soon as it’s powered up, the Leaf will last anywhere from 70-100 miles. The car itself can cost around $34,000 or you can lease one for around $300 per month.
As for the cost of charging an EV, systems can be installed in your household to make charging easier but can range anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000. Fueling the car with a power source can be achieved by simply plugging it in wherever a three-prong power cord outlet is available.
With a $300,000 grant from the US Department of Energy as part of its Clean Cities Initiative Awards, Maui EVA’s mission is to create an implementation plan that will get Maui ready for EVs.
Christine L. Andrews, JD, co-director of the University of Hawaii Maui College, Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance, and owner of a Nissan Leaf, says that her electric bill went up by $200 per month by recharging the EV at home.
The cost may come as a shock but both Andrews and Anne Ku, director of Maui EVA (Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance) say that her monthly gasoline cost was previously $650, mainly due to a daily round trip from Wailuku to Makawao to take her children to school. So, the $200 per month increase is actually a $450 per month saving. They also insist that the car needs little-to-no maintenance, and makes economic sense in the long run.
Electronic scooters and motorcycles all use the same charging method.
A subsequent related event is happening Saturday, September 22 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Maui Swap Meet and UH Maui College. Attendees will be able to ask questions, take a ride in a Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt, and potentially win a free weekend electric car rental from Enterprise Rent-A-Car.