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Nissan's recently announced pairing with the state of Hawaii that reinforces our view that our nation's only island state is ideal for electric vehicles (EVs). With the Leaf's arrival in Hawai'i scheduled for January 2011, Nissan is now reporting that pre-orders for its electric hatchback have eclipsed the 300 mark. Since Nissan has tallied more than 18,000 U.S. pre-orders for the Leaf, 300 for Hawai'i doesn't seem like much. That is, until you consider that the state's entire population amounts to around 1.3 million people, accounting for approximately 0.4 percent of the nation's entire population.

After punching in some numbers on the good ol' calculator, we've concluded that if the entire nation displayed as much interest in the Leaf as Hawaii's 1.3 million residents have, Nissan would be able to boast that it has grabbed more than 70,000 per-orders thus far. Of course, Nissan is far short of reaching that mark. The Leaf's appeal in Hawai'i can be chalked up to several factors that we touched on before, but the state's $4,500 incentive, combined with the federal government's $7,500 rebate, surely convinces many Hawai'i residents that the Leaf is affordable enough to give it a try.

[Source: Nissan-Leaf | Image: Sarah Ackerman – C.C. License 2.0]


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  • 15 Comments
      • 4 Months Ago
      I'm coming out to around 22.5 cents/kwh for solar thermal, and only 6.3 plus the cable for geothermal, using the figures given in the references to the cost calculator.
      • 4 Months Ago
      With electricity at 41 cents per kw in Hawaii, I'm not sure they'll be saving much money. To fill the 24kw battery, it will cost $6. If that takes you 100 miles, you'll be getting about the same as 50 mpg in a regular car. A Prius will often beat that and it's cheaper and more practical.
        • 4 Months Ago
        I'm coming out to around 22.5 cents/kwh for solar thermal, and only 6.3 plus the cable for geothermal, using the figures given in the references to the cost calculator.
        • 4 Months Ago
        Actually average residential electricity prices in Hawaii are 28 cents per kWh.
        http://www.eia.doe.gov/electricity/epm/table5_6_a.html

        Not sure where you get 41 cents per kWh from, perhaps smaller islands charge much more than average while Oahu is cheaper?

        In calculating operating costs you also have to figure that gas prices are often near $4 per gallon.
        • 4 Months Ago
        Wind is a fine resource in Hawaii, unfortunately it's great intermittency mekes it virtually impossible to use for more than around 20% of grid energy - that is what Denmark hits, and they can use the back-up of the enormous Scandinavian hydro resources. They still get 80% from good old, dirty old, coal.
        Here is a levelised cost calculator for different energy sources.
        The only downer is that it fools around with BTUs.
        For interest, you use the 10,000 figure for nuclear, as it is produced at around 33% efficiency from the power.

        For solar, using a payback of 20 years and a $5kw install cost, with obviously no fuel costs and 18% capacity (I just used the flat plate figure for Phoenix, couldn't be assed to look it up for Hawaii) and came up with 38.5 cents/kwh.

        If I were determined to not use nuclear the resource I would go for in Hawaii would likely be geothermal, which is 24/7.
        It is generated on the big island:
        http://www.punageothermalventure.com/About-Geothermal-Energy/13/geothermal-in-hawaii

        As can be seen, the problem is the cost of the undersea cable to Oahu.
        Someone might be interested enough to calculate out the cost of the cable for the 500MW needed, and then put it in the levelised cost calculator.
        Using EVs for most transport would improve the economics, as a 1GW cable is not going to cost twice a 500 MW, and there are the savings on petrol for transport to take into account.
        • 4 Months Ago
        The Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) has a program for Electric Vehicles for 10.66 cents a Kw Mon-Fri from 9PM-7AM and all weekend. It makes have the leaf very affordable.
        • 4 Months Ago
        Unfortunately there's a law that allows the Hawaiian electric company to charge extra high rates for electricity generated from alternative sources. It's supposedly to encourage them to develop these systems. Perhaps it works. In any case, home produced energy works well in many places in Hawaii. The Big Island has the two best sites in the world for wind generated power, the North and South points on the island.
        • 4 Months Ago
        I just tried to look it up. I found someone in Hilo who said it was 39 cents per kw in 2008. I lived there awhile back. I had an electric contractor friend who said it costs 41 cents when you add on the extra charges that are on your bill. The charges may have come down with reduced oil prices. Perhaps it is cheaper in Honolulu, but even at 28 cents, it's no bargain. I saw that at one time it was 49 cents per kw in Kauai. Sorry for putting out the wrong information though. I think what's going on is people are increasingly going to solar in the sunny places in Hawaii. I've read that solar can be as cheap as 20 cents per kilowatt. (I hope that's right) Also, I just saw that Honolulu gas prices are 3.27 - 3.33 for unleaded.
        • 4 Months Ago
        It's not surprising that Hawaii's electricity is so expensive - nearly all of their electricity is generated from diesel that's shipped in plus a little bit of coal.

        Renewables are taking off, though so their grid is constantly getting cleaner. PV generated electricity is at grid parity there and wind should be significantly cheaper.

        Their average consumption is not much more than 1 GW - it would not take a lot of wind and solar to substantially reduce their petroleum consumption (for electricity generation, anyway).
        • 4 Months Ago
        at 41 cents solar panels to charge your car start to be really appealing. Just charge a bank of lead acids sitting at home and then do quick charging from there. It's all DC, so no conversion losses and no fancy schmancy converters.
      • 4 Months Ago
      Hawaii is also a good candidate for modular nukes. Use those for baseload, combine that with a generous helping of solar and wind, and Hawaii could become the greenest state in the U.S.
      • 4 Months Ago
      Just as a point of comparison, NADA data for the last four years, total annual car sales in Hawaii:
      2009 2008 2007 2006
      58,669 72,335 96,917 107,727

      compared to US totals:
      10.3 M 13.2M 16.0M 16.6M

      So 300 cars among 58.6k is about .5% of the 2009 market, which would translate to 53,000 nationwide (in 2009).
      • 4 Months Ago
      Hawaii is ideal for electric vehicles, long distance vehicle travel is impossible so range and charging time are not a problem. There are only a few roads where it is possible to approach 65mph. Long distance travel is always done via airplane or ship.

      The only place you might have a problem driving is up to the top of the mountain or 4wd roads.
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