Hawaii leads the way in EVs. The state wants to do the same for charging stations

Right now, Hawaii is among the top states in the country when it comes to electric car ownership.
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 5:06 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 4, 2022 at 3:45 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Juliette Schoeder lives in Waikiki but whenever she needs to charge up her electric car, she has to drive the Hawaiian Electric Co.’s charging station on Ward Avenue.

“I’m charging now because I need to drive to Pearl City later. So I need to make sure I have enough charge in order to get there and back with no issues,” she said.

Because her car is an older model, it only has a range of 55 miles.

She said many of the charging stations near her home are also offline.

“There are free chargers at the mall and in different locations around, but they often are broken. So it’s hard to find one that is not already taken,” she said.

To ease the range anxiety felt by EV drivers like Schroeder, the state is expanding its electric vehicle infrastructure.

The federal government is providing the state with $6.1 million to expand its EV network.

The state will start installing the first round of 11 charging stations by the end of the year.

Most will be close to the interstate highways and open 24-7. The locations of the next round of stations will depend a lot on community input and demand.

Right now, Hawaii is among the top states in the country when it comes to electric car ownership.

But it’s last when it comes to the availability of charging stations.

“We know that 11 stations are not enough to build out a system that takes away the range anxiety for all of our state. But those are the first sites that are necessary,” said Ed Sniffen, head of state highways.

State officials hope installing more of these charging stations will increase the number of EVs on the road.

They added that the state could apply for additional funding from other federal programs to build even more charging stations.

“It’s going to help us change tremendously,” said Sniffen.