Hawaii is the most oil dependent state in the nation with more than 95 percent of its energy supplied by imported fossil fuels. Gas and electricity prices are also far above the national average. To increase its energy independence, Hawaii is revving up its state electric vehicle program, “EV Ready,” thanks to $4.5 million in funding from the Energy Department’s State Energy Program and the Recovery Act.
As part of the program administered by Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), residents and businesses can apply for rebates and grants to purchase electric vehicles and construct charging stations. In 2011, rebates were approved for 237 electric vehicles and 168 chargers.
Last July, Governor Neil Abercrombie unveiled the first public charging station installed in the state capitol’s underground parking garage. Since then, five additional charging stations have been installed at state-owned buildings in Honolulu, and another eight chargers at the motor pool for the state’s new fleet of electric vehicles.
The state awarded another $2.6 million in Recovery Act funds to six organizations charged with promoting, installing and deploying charging stations and electric vehicles across the state. By April 2012, charging stations across all counties will be installed, as part of the EV Ready grant program.
Transportation fuel accounts for 30 percent of liquid fuel consumption in the state, or 75 million gallons per year. Measures associated with the EV Ready program aim to reduce Hawaii’s ground transportation fuel use by 70 percent by 2030.
The EV Ready program aligns with the goals of the broader Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), a public-private partnership between Hawaii, the Energy Department and other governmental and private groups. The initiative intends to generate 40 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030, and implement energy efficiency measures to cut energy demand by 30 percent.