Public invited to “Test Drive Electric” on Earth Day with Maui Nui EV
Has the high price for gas made you think about an electric vehicle? Have you ever wondered what it’s like behind the wheel of an electric car, now’s your chance to find out. The Maui Nui EV Association presents “Test Drive Electric” on Earth Day, Friday, April 22, from 3 to 6 p.m. at University of Hawai‘i Maui Campus.
The free event, which is part of the new EV Maui awareness campaign, features opportunities to test drive some of the latest models of electric vehicles and get your questions answered by experts.
“Test Drive Electric” is part of a larger Earth Day event held by the Student ‘Ohana for Sustainability Club on the main lawn of UHMC. Look for the rows of EVs at the charging stations in front of the Ka‘a ʻIke Building (across from the Maui Arts & Cultural Center) off Wahinepiʻo Ave.
EV dealers offering test drives include KarMart with Volkswagen, Aloha Kia, BMW Maui, and Bio-Beetle with Nissan Leaf.
Members of Maui Nui EV will bring an array of their own personal vehicles, from Hyundais to Teslas, for public viewing (not driving). In addition, Hawaiian Electric will be on hand to give information and answer questions about EVs; and Hawai‘i Federal Credit Union will provide details about financing options for electric vehicles.
All attendees receive a free ticket for the giveaways taking place every half hour throughout the event. Ka‘uhane Lands will give away an organic two-gallon palapalai (valued at $40) or noni tree in a five-gallon pot (valued at $50) at 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.; and Maui Cookie Lab will give away one dozen cookies (valued at $42) at 4, 5 and 6 p.m.
“Earth Day is the perfect time to reconnect with our environment,” said Drew Mota, owner of Ka‘uhane Lands, a Wailuku-based landscape design company and plant nursery in an event announcement. “What better way to honor the ʻāina than by planting a native fern or medicinal tree?”
Other vendors include Sustainable Island Products and West Maui Greencycle, in keeping with the theme of sustainability for Maui County through Earth Day and beyond.
A growing network supports electric vehicle drivers on Maui. This network includes Maui Nui EV, which is an official organization of EV owners and experts for all things EV; and Hawaiian Electric, which is working to increase its presence in the EV space and be a resource for EV Maui and the general public.
“We’re here to encourage residents to learn about the benefits of driving electric vehicles, both economic and environmental,” said Rob Weltman, leader of Maui Nui EV. “It’s exciting to see the trend of rising EV ownership on Maui. Come on down and drive one of the newest models and get a feel for the fun and efficiency of these amazing vehicles.”
A representative from Hawaiian Electric will be at the event to share information and answer questions about programs the company is pursuing to expand electric vehicle charging opportunities across its service territories, including Maui. Among the company’s initiatives in various stages of development are a planned expansion of EV public charging stations, make-ready programs to reduce upfront charging infrastructure costs for bus operators and commercial customers, and innovative rate design that lowers bills while providing grid support.
Organizers say electric vehicles cause no fossil fuel emissions and they are quiet in operation. Their batteries are charged from your rooftop solar panels or the grid. “EVs can save their owners money on fuel and maintenance, and even earn federal tax credits. On top of all that, they are snappy and fun to drive,” organizers said.
Supported by the County of Maui and the Office of Economic Development, EV Maui is a campaign to raise awareness and educate the general public about electric vehicles. To learn more about EV Maui and the benefits of making the switch to an electric vehicle, visit evmaui.com.