Group working to add more charging stations for electric vehicles

Group working to add more charging stations for electric vehicles

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some 80 percent of the state's 5,000 electric vehicles are on Oahu, but only 60 percent of public charging stations are here.

With electric vehicles getting more affordable and more popular, a newly-formed group is looking to change that.

Hawaiian Electric Co., the Blue Planet Foundation, and six other organizations have joined together to form Drive Electric Hawaii, whose goals include increasing  the number of charging stations on the island.

"Expect the adoption to go up pretty significantly in the next few years. That's going to be putting a lot of strain on the existing supply of public charging stations," said Shem Lawlor, Blue Planet Foundation's chief transportation director.

"There is a need to work with businesses to have charging at work where we can get daytime charging where we have excess solar energy that can actually help the grid a little bit more," he added.

HECO is halfway to its goal of installing 25 fast-charging stations statewide, most of them on Oahu.

"We're looking at a location in Iwilei. We're looking at a location on the North Shore. We'll soon be opening one in Waianae," HECO senior spokesman Peter Rosegg said.

Blue Planet wants new condominiums to consider installing charging ports.

HECO is searching for landowners, shopping centers and even gas stations that will agree to host charging stations on their properties. HECO will install, own and operate them, while drivers pay for the power.

"If you look at buildings that have good customer service they'll have electric vehicle charging," Rosegg said. "That's going to be the norm now not the exception."

State law says properties with 100 or more public parking stalls must have at least one charging station. But many haven't complied and there's been no enforcement.

Blue Planet is surveying the properties to see if the law should exempt some of them or if the ratio of charging stations to stalls needs to change.

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