Hawaii Says Aloha to an Electric Car Network

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News Posted: Wed, Dec 3 2008 12:44 PM
Zero-emission vehicles, alternative fuels, independence from foreign oil supplies, and low carbon footprints are more than just pie-in-the-sky wishes--they can also be big business. Following in the steps of San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland, Better Place has just entered into an agreement with the state of Hawaii and the Hawaiian Electric Companies to implement a statewide electric-car charging network throughout Hawaii.

"Attracting investments into the state is a major component of our Five-Point Action Plan to help stimulate the economy... Today's announcement is a significant move towards our state gaining independence from foreign oil. This public-private partnership is exactly the type of investment we have been working on as we continue to carry out our Hawai'i Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), moving toward the goal of 70 percent clean energy for the State of Hawai‘i. It highlights the importance we place on finding innovative ways to attract investments in energy technology." – Hawaiian Governor Linda Lingle

Hawaii's HCEI was signed this last January with a goal having at least 70 percent of the state's energy needs come from "clean energy" by 2030. With the agreement with Better Place, Hawaii just got a strong push in the right direction. Over the next year, Better Place will begin installing public charging spots and creating "battery swapping stations." The infrastructure for this network will be powered by Hawaiian Electric Companies, with much of the electricity coming from renewable energy sources, such as "solar, wind, wave and geothermal." Better Places will also start introducing electric cars for sale in Hawaii, with the goal of having full mass-market availability by 2012.

The plan is that most electric cars will charge at home overnight, when electricity demand is typically lower. For cars that need to travel farther than a single charge will allow, roadside stations will provide fully-charged replacement batteries that can be quickly swapped out for the depleted or low batteries. The stations' supply of batteries are also charged during off-peak hours. This battery-swapping model won't necessarily work for all electric cars, but it should at least work with the electric vehicles that the Renault-Nissan Alliance is producing with Better Place. Better Place states: "Today, rechargeable lithium ion batteries can reliably deliver driving distances of over 100 miles on a single charge and replenish themselves at approximately one minute per minute of drive." Of course the means that electric cars that travel more than 100 miles and don't have replaceable batteries will have a longer stopover as they recharge their batteries. Perhaps eco-conscious drivers who will need to drive long distances in Hawaii might be best served by the Chevy Volt.

Better Places claims that Hawaii has some of the highest gas prices in the U.S., and that automobile emissions make up roughly 20 percent of Hawaii's green-house-gas emissions. Better Places also claims that Hawaii spends as much as $7 billion per year on imported oil.
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I think electric cars are good in theory, but are too expensive for the average consumer too afford. Still, go Hawaii for starting to use renewable energy! Yes


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wil2200 replied on Wed, Dec 3 2008 10:45 PM

It's true that initial electric cars are expensive, but that can be said for any new technology. At least it's here and it's a start, just like back in the day when cd burners were $$$. It would be nice though, if some rich people help adopt this faster so the price goes down to the point where the rest of us poor folks can afford it. Yeah, like that will ever happen.

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The big problem is how we get the electric for the cars. Same fossil fuels, you just get then at a different stage.

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Dec 4 2008 12:10 PM

1. Write article with headline that can mean two opposite things.

2. ???

3. Profit!

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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JohnQP replied on Sat, Dec 6 2008 6:50 PM

Actually, that isn't the problem. That is the *perceived* problem, but that certainly is not the problem.

Electric cars provide, in concept, two things:

o A singular source of powering an automobile (similar to Gas being a singular source for providing power to an automobile (well, a majority of them in the US).

o Electricity can be *MADE* from any number of combination of a large number of sources: Fossil Fuels, Wind, Tidal Currents, Solar, Steam, Trash-to-Steam, etc.

What it provides is a severing of the dependence of the automobile on its _type of source_ of fuel.

It looks like that Wired article from August 2008 (http://www.wired.com/cars/futuretransport/magazine/16-09/ff_agassi?currentPage=all) might just have been on to something.

Personally, I would love to see this succeed, and I think Better Place has the right formula to see this through.

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With the increasing gasoline prices I guess this is a practical move for the state of Hawaii on using non petrol powered cars. Although in needs a lot of conversion and needs a lot of money investing electric Lexus parts, it is way cheaper to drive a plug in car compared to buying gallons of petrol in your nearest gasoline station.

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I think it's great to have environmental awareness, I am often skeptical of all tree-hugger projects and ideas. These environmentalists often rightfully identify a cheap parts for car , but fail to present those involved with a viable and usable alternative.

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