Maui Electric Company and the Hawaiian Electric Industries Charitable Foundation donated an electric vehicle to the Molokaʿi transportation program of Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. The car was presented to the nonprofit organization in Kaunakakai, Molokaʿi on Saturday.
On hand to mark the donation were president of Maui County and Hawai’i Island Utilities, Sharon Suzuki; Creighton Liu, manager of Strategic Planning for Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc., Brennon Morioka, Hawaiian Electric general manager of Electrification of Transportation; Debbie Cabebe, CEO of Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc.; and Ned Davis, Board Chair of Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc.
“MEO is grateful for this generous donation from Maui Electric and Hawaiian Electric Industries Charitable Foundation for the purchase of a new Nissan Leaf electric vehicle and Level 2 charging station,” said Cabebe. “In the transportation industry, the switch to electric vehicles is growing as they promote a clean energy future. Adding an electric vehicle to our fleet will save us money on fuel and makes one on one transports more efficient. There are many times we have clients who need a ride to and from an appointment and the time is not in alignment with other runs, therefore a shared ride is not possible. Having access to a sedan, and an electric sedan at that, makes operations more efficient and reduces operating expenses. With the high cost of living on Molokaʿi anyway we can save is a benefit to the community and an overall good for the environment.”
In addition to the donation of the new Nissan Leaf, Maui Electric and the HEI Charitable Foundation also donated $5,000 towards the purchase and installation of a Level Two electric vehicle charger at MEO’s Molokaʿi base yard.
“Maui Electric is proud to partner with the HEI Charitable Foundation to support the much needed transportation services that MEO provides on Moloka’i. We are also grateful for the extraordinary assistance from New City Nissan and Nissan North America that helped to make this contribution possible,” said Sharon Suzuki, president of Maui County and Hawaiʿi Island Utilities “The adoption of EVs on Molokaʿi will play a key role in reducing their carbon footprint and getting their island to 100 percent renewable energy ahead of the other Hawaiian Islands.”
The popularity of EVs has risen in recent years as the world takes greater notice of the importance of reducing reliance on fossil fuels for transportation and rebates and discounts helps with purchase costs. The donation was held in conjunction with an electric vehicle fair, GoEV Molokaʿi, co-sponsored by Maui Electric and the County of Maui’s Office of Economic Development and made possible with help from Maui Economic Development Board.
The event commenced with a blessing of the island’s first public electric vehicle charging station installed by Maui Electric with support from the County of Maui. Participating in the blessing conducted by Kahu Naomi Eiko Duvauchelle, were Mayor Michael Victorino and Council Member Keani Rawlins-Fernandez.