$2.6M Federal Funds Deploy EV Charging Stations Statewide
By Sonia Isotov
At the First Hawaiian Bank International Auto Show Friday, the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s State Energy Office announced the awarding of $2.6 million in federal stimulus funds to six organizations that will accelerate Hawaii’s adoption of electric vehicles (EV).
The grants, provided through DBEDT’s EV Ready Grant Program, aim to contribute to the state’s energy goal of 70% clean energy by 2030 by reducing consumption of imported petroleum fuels for ground transportation.
“With the price of oil escalating because of unstable conditions in the Middle East, it’s even more important for all of us to find ways to cut our use of imported fuel,” said Estrella Seese, Acting Program Energy Administrator, State Energy Office, in a written statement.
“Charging an electric vehicle costs much less than filling a tank with gasoline. Drivers will be saving on fuel costs, less fuel will be used for the same amount of mileage, and in the near future, electric cars will run on electricity produced from renewable resources such as the sun and wind.”
The EV Ready Grant Program includes strategically deploying an electric vehicle infrastructure statewide, collecting and analyzing charging data to study impact on electricity distribution and providing public outreach and educational programs to promote EV growth.
The grants, backed by federal matching funds, were awarded as follows:
- Better Place, $854,000, for charging stations on all islands and the introduction of EVs to a rental car fleet.
- AeroVironment, $820,000, to also install charging stations on all islands, conduct grid integration analysis, and accelerate EV introduction to dealerships and vehicle fleets.
- GreenCar Hawai‘i, $200,000, to introduce EVs to car-sharing services within the hospitality industry.
- County of Kauai, $267,000 for charging stations on the Garden Island and EVs for County fleets.
- City & County of Honolulu, $400,000, for charging stations on Oahu, EVs and an online charger permitting system.
- Plug In America, $50,000, for an EV Ready Guidebook for Hawaii, along with education and outreach.
In particular, the $820,000 contract is awarded to AeroVironment who will work in partnership with the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the Hawaiian Electric Company and fund the deployment of up to 320 AeroVironment 240-volt electric vehicle (EV) charging docks throughout the islands. Once deployment is completed, Hawaii will have one of the nation’s first statewide public charging networks supporting electric vehicle drivers.
“We look forward to working with AeroVironment to help reduce the use of oil for transportation,” said Robbie Alm, Hawaiian Electric executive vice president, in a statement released by AeroVironment Friday. “Wide use of electric vehicles will not only help reduce our fossil fuel dependence, it will make it easier to increase our use of renewable energy sources such as wind power and others, all contributing to our energy, economic and environmental security.”
“AeroVironment and the state of Hawaii are pioneers in the EV movement and have a long partnership focused on introducing clean transportation solutions,” said Mike Bissonette, senior vice president of Efficient Energy Systems for AeroVironment. “Together, we’re deploying practical solutions for a game-changing electric transportation ecosystem that will dramatically alter the vehicle refueling paradigm for drivers in Hawaii.”