Legendary Race Car Driver to Be Featured at Fair

September 21, 2015, 4:20 PM HST · Updated September 21, 4:20 PM
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Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima, shown here racing the Pike’s Peak Hillclimb in his custom-built, $5 million electric race car, will appear in the Maui Fair Parade and greet the public at the County Tent at the fair. Photo courtesy TEAM APEV.

Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima, shown here racing the Pike’s Peak Hillclimb in his custom-built, $5 million electric race car, will appear in the Maui Fair Parade and greet the public at the county tent at the fair. Photo courtesy TEAM APEV.

Mayor Alan Arakawa has announced that the Maui County tent at the Maui Fair will offer high-energy excitement with two Tesla electric vehicles—a Roadster and a Model S—and legendary race car driver and innovator Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima.

The county tent, located adjacent to the entertainment tent, will feature the two electric vehicles, multimedia displays and information about county and Blue Planet Foundation programs.

The public is invited to learn more about clean transportation options in Hawai‘i, meet Tajima and see the vehicles firsthand.

“Monster” Tajima will be at the County tent on Thursday, Sept. 24 after the parade until 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 26, from noon to 1 p.m.

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“This is a great opportunity for everyone to see the amazing advances in clean energy transportation,” said Mayor Arakawa. “The technology behind these high-end electric vehicles is exciting, because it shows how EVs are becoming more efficient and more powerful all the time. I’m looking forward to riding with Monster in the parade and I hope everyone comes to see us at the county tent at the fair.”

Monster Tajima and the Tesla vehicles, displays and giveaways are being featured at the County tent in partnership with Blue Planet Foundation—a Hawai‘i-based nonprofit dedicated to clearing the path for 100 percent clean energy—with support from the Association for the Promotion of Electric Vehicle and the Hawaii Electric Vehicle Network (HEVN).

With the recent launch of its clean transportation program, Blue Planet Foundation is taking a lead in helping Hawai‘i move away from fossil fuel use in ground transportation.

“We envision a world powered by 100 percent clean energy,” said Shem Lawlor, clean transportation director at Blue Planet Foundation. “As ground transportation accounts for over one-third of all fossil fuels imported to Hawai‘i, it is a path-defining issue for energy independence.”

“We are excited to bring the electric vehicle display to this year’s fair to give Maui residents a glimpse of how transportation in Hawai‘i is changing,” continued Lawlor. “Electric vehicles are already lowering transportation costs for families across the state. They are improving our environment and economy through reduced greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on imported oil. Electric vehicles really are the future of driving in Hawai‘i. And Monster Tajima is leading by example, demonstrating the power of electric vehicles on and off the racetrack and bringing this message to a wider audience.”

Besides being a respected and acclaimed race car driver, Tajima is chairman/CEO of Tajima Motor Corporation, chairman of IRD Corporation, president and CEO of SIM-Drive Corporation and chief commissioner of the Association for the Promotion of Electric Vehicles.

One of the most innovative leaders in the Japanese auto industry, Tajima has been a car mechanic, engineer, champion race car driver and successful business executive. He played a major role in promoting motor sports with Suzuki under the “Suzuki Sports” brand. As a race car driver, he has won the Asia Pacific Rally Competition five times and won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb six consecutive years from 2006 to 2011.

In 2010, Tajima joined Soichiro Fukutake of Benesse Holdings Inc. to establish the Association for the Promotion of Electric Vehicles in Japan to promote electric vehicles.

As a rally driver who has competed worldwide, he has seen firsthand the serious impact climate change has had all over the world, and felt the urgency to change from fuel cars to cleaner vehicles. In 2012, he challenged PPIHC with his first electric race car the “E-Runner,” and in 2013 he won the PPIHC Electric Vehicle Division with a record-setting time, bringing a new level of awareness to electric vehicles and their potential.

Electric vehicles are typically three times more efficient than gasoline vehicles and can run on electricity generated by renewable energy, like wind and solar. Electric vehicles can also provide solutions beyond transportation. Their mobile batteries could help upgrade electrical grids and increase energy storage capacity.

Many Hawai‘i residents are already enjoying the benefits of electric vehicles. As of the end of August, Maui has 635 registered EVs (.4% of all passenger vehicles on the island). The highest penetration is on O‘ahu, with .44% of all passenger vehicles being electric. Maui used to lead in percentage of EVs, but was eclipsed in September 2011 by O‘ahu. Both islands are far ahead of Kaua‘i (.2% EVs) and Hawai‘i Island (currently .1% EVs). There are now about 3,600 electric vehicles statewide—and the rate of adoption hasn’t shown signs of slowing, despite the dip in gasoline prices.

For more information on the Maui County tent, call (808) 270-7855. For details on Blue Planet Foundation, visit www.blueplanetfoundation.org. For information on APEV, visit www.apev.jp/en/ and www.apev.jp/teamapev/top_e.html. To learn more about HEVN, visit www.hevn.net/.

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