Electric Cars Get An Extension On Aloha Spirit

If anywhere in the world seems custom-made for electric vehicles, that place would be Hawaii for the simple reason that it just isn’t that big. The Big Island is by far the largest of the Hawaiian chain and at its widest point, it’s only 93 miles across. On Oahu, the greatest distance across the island is just 44 miles and driving around the whole thing is about 112 miles. What this all means is that just about anywhere you’d like to go in Hawaii is within range of an electric car. Since the islands are so small, it also stands to reason that charging station coverage could be quite good.

Honolulu is also a very congested city, with the worst commuter time in the U.S., with the exception of Los Angeles. Drivers of electric cars get a bit of relief from that congestion because they get to enjoy commuter lanes no matter how many people are in the car. And, as an added bonus, Hawaiian Electric Company offers Electric Vehicle Pilot Rates for both residential and commercial customers and considering the gasoline prices in Hawaii, that’s a very good deal.

01nissanleaf2011fd-450x284

image via Nissan

So could it get any better for EV drivers in Hawaii? Well, believe it or not, it just did. The state just extended its EV Ready Rebate Program, bolstering the program with an additional $150,000. They’ve also extended the deadline for rebates on new electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to March 31.

That’s not much time, but it’s well worth it as Hawaii’s rebate program is quite generous. Hawaii’s residents can apply for state rebates of up to $4,500 on purchases of electric vehicles and up to $500 for electric vehicle chargers through the program. In addition to the state EV rebates, federal tax incentives of up to $7,500 are also available for highway-capable vehicles. This allows for the potential of up to $12,500 in rebates and tax credits for an individual.

Early evidence suggests the program may be working. Hawaii has the largest number of reservations per capita in the country for the Nissan Leaf.

Hawaii’s EV Ready Program is funded by federal stimulus funds. By April, approximately 210 charging stations, at roughly 140 sites across all of the state’s counties, will be installed as part of the program. Some chargers will have the capacity to charge more than one vehicle at a time.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.

  • Anonymous

    Hawaii is a beautiful state, easily the most beautiful of all 50. You have abundant sunshine and strong prevailing winds, both of which can be used to generate clean, renewable electricity. You also import 100% of the oil you use, the single biggest source of your pollution. Transitioning from that filthy, expensive oil to clean, renewable electricity makes imminent sense. Instead of shipping in tankers of oil and shipping out boatloads of cash, keep your money local by hiring residents to install solar panels and erect windmills, then drive your cars on that clean energy.