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Maui Gets its First Electric
Car “Fast Charger”

Updated 02:52 PM HST, September 27, 2012
Posted 07:52 PM HST, September 21, 2012

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


Anne Ku, director of UH Maui’s Electric Vehicle Alliance, speaks next to Maui’s first electric vehicle fast charger. County photo.

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.


An electric vehicle plugged in and charging. County photo.

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.

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Editor's Note:Maui Now is an open forum and we welcome any views. However, please apply your sense of aloha when posting comments - remarks that are unnecessarily offensive will be blocked.

By publishing a comment, you are acknowledging that you are personally responsible for its contents.

  • Kihei Resident

    Maybe Mayor Arakawa can explain us how is MECO going to avoid a network meltdown with the dramatic increase in the power consumption once these electric cars become popular in our community. I’d also like to know how is the county prepared to deal with the highly toxic batteries these cars use in large numbers which will need to be replaced probably once a year.

    • http://twitter.com/Aloha_Analytics Aloha Analytics

      MECO can handle it. Up to the consumers to buy the EV cars. The Maui grid can handle it.

    • Tony Stevens

      The batteries are designed to last over 100,000 miles and use a smart charging system that plugs into a regular outlet. Did you see a meltdown when everyone in your neighborhood bought big screen tv’s? No. As for the toxic part, you need a proper repair tech to handle such a job and they are licensed and required to return these to the manufacturer to be recycled. Did you also know that the original Prius’ are still using their original battery packs from 10+ years ago. Get your facts straight before you hurt the electric vehicle market even more. Don’t assume and I hope you know the rest of that sentence. Test drive an electric car or an electric scooter or an electric motorcycle and you will be whistling a different tune. Not having engine noise or that lawn mower or windup toy noise in your ear is outstanding. Not to mention that you save almost $9 a day in gas. What would you do with an extra $9 a day?

  • Maui_Mike

    I have read that these batteries will be recycled by the manufacturer, and I’m told that the power demand is not like an air conditioner or electric stove, it is less prone to spiking.
    When they are charged by solar or a couple small wind generators like the ones at Maui ocean center…..then you’ll really have something!

    • http://twitter.com/Aloha_Analytics Aloha Analytics

      In due time.

  • Bryan

    What a load of crap,ev car,Maui’s primary source of power is still burning oil,thats not saving oil consumption,so $36,000 for roller skate car,$200 month in extra electricity$2,400 a year per article,&100 a month req insurance $1,200 a year.lets round that to $40,000 for a vehicle the first time theirs a power outage or shortage becomes a lawn ornament.

    • http://twitter.com/Aloha_Analytics Aloha Analytics

      Bryan, that’s a free charge up at that site. If I lived in Wailuku, I’d get an EV just to not have to pay for gas nor charging.

      • hawaiiansupaman

        Nothing is free. Especially your time. What will you be doing while your vehicle is recharging for 20 minutes?

        • Tony Stevens

          Grab a bite to eat, balance my checkbook to figure out where all this extra money is coming from (oh that’s right I don’t pay for gas anymore!), talk with my kids or friends, enjoy a little me time and just relax. Is that too hard to figure out?

    • Maui_Mike

      That’s a good point, but a car like a Chevy volt is unaffected and still a great choice, and far from being a “roller skate”
      Not a bad lease price either.

  • http://twitter.com/Aloha_Analytics Aloha Analytics


  • brokenbutcher

    I hope these electric cars are being marketed to people who have a lot of time on their hands and at the same time dont want to pay the going rate for gas because with 6500 jets in the air 24/7, I doubt it will account for any reduction in pollution.

  • brokenbutcher

    these cars cost between 30 and 60 grand… That’s a lot of gas.. It would take about 20 years for you see a return on your investment.. Plus, you cant do burn outs!

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