A step toward the future: State to receive $6.4M for new EV charging stations
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Biden-Harris Administration has approved Hawaii’s plan to deploy more high-powered chargers for electric vehicles.
The state is getting about $6.4 million in federal funding to be matched by state funds to build five new charging stations on the Big Island, one on Maui, one in Honolulu and another on Kauai.
Hawaii currently has about 800 charging ports.
Hawaiian Electric predicts that by 2045, more than half of Hawaii’s personal light-duty vehicles will be electric and the state will need at least 2,200 public charging ports to meet the demand.
The state said there are about 4,700 registered electric vehicles, which is 30.9% more than last year.
“We have super high demand for cheaper electric vehicles, especially with gas prices so high and yet we have minimal charging infrastructure available publicly,” said State Sen. Chris Lee who sits on the Committees for Transportation and Energy, Economic development, and Tourism.
Meanwhile, Paul Ponthieux of Blue Planet Research said Hawaii’s power grid is not ready for a surge of EVs.
“So plugging in that many electric cars is going to crash the grid, even more often than that happens now,” said Ponthieux. “So, if they’re planning on rebuilding the grid first, that’s the only way that it’s going to work, and then do electric charging.”
Ponthiuex said the state should consider focusing on hydrogen fuel cells that use the natural gas to produce electricity.
“Hydrogen lacks infrastructure at the moment, but it would be cheaper to put in hydrogen infrastructure than to put in electrical infrastructure to support the massive rollout of electric vehicles,” said Ponthieux.
Major car makers are already investing in hydrogen technology, which is backed by environmental groups.
But the electric charging wave appears unstoppable.
Hertz and oil giant BP are teaming up to build 100,000 chargers globally by the end of the decade.
State lawmakers have been trying to create incentives for hydrogen fuel cells but so far it hasn’t taken off.
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