As popularity of electric cars grows, lawmakers want to require more charging stations

Lawmakers want to require more EV charging stations
Updated: Mar. 5, 2018 at 10:44 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii New Now)
(Image: Hawaii New Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Electric vehicles are one of the fastest-growing segments of Hawaii's automotive market, but the number of charging stations built to support those cars hasn't kept pace.

A new House proposal aims to fix that problem.

"We are way behind where we need to be to support the EV growth that we're seeing here," said state Rep. Chris Lee, whose district includes Kailua.

"California, in fact, moved to require all facilities to have 20 percent to be EV ready in order to support the growing demand that they are seeing already."

Right now, owners of large commercial parking lots in Hawaii must dedicate one stall for every hundred stalls for electrical vehicle charging stations.

Starting in 2021, the measure requires all parking lots with 100 or more stalls to dedicate two stalls for every 100 stalls for charging stations.

Under the bill, that increases to three stalls per 100 stalls by the year 2024.

Supporters said the bill will help increase demand for electric cars, reduce range anxiety for drivers and cut fossil fuel usage. But opponents said that requiring more charging stations -- which cost between $4,000 and $6,000 each -- will hurt landowners, retailers and consumers.

"They end up footing the bill. It becomes a cost to everybody," said Tina Yamaki, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii.

Yamaki said businesses worry that many of the people using charging stations at Hawaii's shopping malls aren't retail customers at all.

"A lot of times it's the community around it because the condominiums don't have charging stations or they don't want to pay for the extra electricity for them," she said.

The measure was approved by the House Finance Committee last week and next goes to the full House.

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