One of the smallest US states continues to be one of the biggest proponents of electric-vehicle adoption, and is now offering special electric-use charging rates for folks who install EV charging stations. The Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) has received approval from the state's Public Utilities Commission to offer electric-vehicle pilot charging rates, in which businesses that install fast-charging stations get special, lower electricity-usage rates. Additionally, the state will allow HECO to operate as many as 25 publicly accessible DC fast-charging stations in Oahu, Maui and the Big Island.

Hawaii has long been at the forefront of US EV adoption, so much so that California-based advocate group Plug In America used a $50,000 grant from the state to produce a 48-page guidebook geared to help out novice plug-in drivers. The state is regarded as an optimal breeding ground for EV adoption because of its combination of high gas prices and geographically constrained driving distances. Range anxiety gets no aloha.

As of May, there were about 1,400 plug-in vehicles registered in the Aloha State. Meanwhile, as of late last month, there were about 125 publicly accessible charging stations, or about one per every 4,000 registered light-duty vehicles (any powertrain) in the state. By comparison, the US had about 6,300 publicly accessible stations, or about one per 20,000 registered US vehicles, according to US Department of Energy figures. Read HECO's press release below.
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Hawaiian Electric Companies offer new rates for public EV charging

First-in-the-nation rates to ease 'range anxiety' with more public charge spots

(Honolulu, Hawaii) – The Hawaiian Electric Companies have gained approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission for two new electric vehicle (EV) pilot charging rates. The rates are designed to encourage ownership of plug-in electric vehicles in Hawaii by easing "range anxiety."

The new Commercial Public Electric Vehicle Charging Facility Service rate (Schedule EV-F) will make it financially attractive for business customers to open new public EV charging facilities metered separately from other uses.

Businesses can now take advantage of EV time-of-use rates without a "demand charge" typically assessed to commercial customers. This new rate will encourage businesses to provide direct current (DC) fast charging, which delivers a quicker charge but at a higher demand. A DC fast charging station can bring an "empty" EV battery to an 80 percent charge in about 30 minutes. (Demand charge represents the electric utility's cost to maintain the capacity to meet a commercial customer's highest demand for a fixed period.)

The second new rate, Commercial Public Electric Vehicle Charging Service (Schedule EV-U), allows the Hawaiian Electric Companies to operate up to 25 publicly accessible DC fast charging facilities across Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island where drivers could quickly recharge their vehicles for a per-session fee. It also allows the Hawaiian Electric utilities to work with the EV industry to manage electric vehicle EV charging more effectively and do research on load control and demand response.

"Plug-in electric vehicles continue to increase and we want to make it easier for our customers to own and use them," said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service. "While most electric vehicle owners will continue to charge overnight at home, more charge spots across the islands will provide assurance to EV drivers that they won't 'run out of juice' while away from home."

Increased use of EVs can reduce Hawaii's dependency on imported oil and encourage use of electricity from indigenous renewable resources, such as wind and solar. Fueling a vehicle with electricity, even from conventional generation, is cleaner and costs the customer less per mile than using gasoline in an internal combustion engine.

"The Hawaii State Energy Office supports widespread deployment of EV DC fast charging infrastructure, which will help promote EV adoption and ease range anxiety," said State Energy Administrator Mark Glick. "These new EV rates are a novel approach in dealing with demand charges and a positive step in meeting the state's clean energy objectives and in proving Hawaii as a leader of EV deployment in the Asia-Pacific region."

Hawaiian Electric Companies worked with the Hawaii State Energy Office, Hawaii Consumer Advocate, and OpConnect LLC to develop the new tariffs.

According to the state's Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, as of May 2013, there were a total of 1,437 plug-in electric vehicles registered in the state (Oahu – 1,093; Maui - 210; Hawaii Island – 90).

More information on electric vehicle ownership is available from Hawaiian Electric at hawaiianelectric.com/goev or by calling 808-543-GOEV (4638). For information on the State Energy Office's EV program, visit electricvehicle.hawaii.gov.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hawaii shows how efficient EVs are. Even though they are fueled largely by expensive imported diesel used to run their power plants, the EVs are still (slightly) cheaper to drive than gasoline cars. Of course many people are installing PV so their EV costs are much less. Hawaii is the state that will first have the 'Germany' issue . . . so much solar that it becomes difficult to regulate the grid. Hopefully they can get some solutions from Germany who is working hard on the issue.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        "Hopefully they can get some solutions from Germany who is working hard on the issue." You mean hydrogen, right? Because that's what the Germans are using to regulate renewable power - they're converting it into hydrogen and storing it in the nat. gas grid. ...Which Hawaii (The Gas Company, I mean) is planning on doing. They've already been running some small scale trials, injecting H2 into the gas grid and separating it back out to fuel FCVs.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Hawaii will not have the same problems as Germany using solar in the grid. The nearer the equator you are, the better a power source solar is. Here is the solar insolation for Honolulu, which is located at 21 degrees north: http://www.gaisma.com/en/location/honolulu-hawaii.html Note that there is less than a two for one difference in solar per square metre between December at 3.92Kwh/m2/day and June at 7.33Kwh/m2/day Demand for electricity will peak in the hotter months, as the air conditioning will be working harder. Here is the solar insolation for Berlin, which is at 52 degrees north: http://www.gaisma.com/en/location/berlin.html Peak month there is July, with 4.81Kwh/m2/day, a bit more than Honolulu's worst month, but not by much. This crashes to a disastrous 0.48Kwh/m2/day in December. Power use in Germany is exactly the reverse of that in Hawaii, with demand heavy in winter, and much, much lower in summer. The above figures are all that people need to look at to see that solar, if cost issues can be addressed, is a darn good idea in Hawaii, and an epically bad, deeply stupid obsession in Germany. The only storage issues in Hawaii are overnight, which is a couple of orders of magnitude easier to solve than annular variation. Although some here may find it difficult to believe, I have been a solar advocate for 40 years. I have always thought that, funnily enough, it works best where it is sunny. Cost wise, nuclear could do the job far cheaper, but solar is not the dumb idea it is elsewhere. Solar in Hawaii will help the grid, in Germany it is an unmitigated disaster.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DaveMart
          Why do you need so much more electricity in winter? Yes, the nights are longer but lighting is only slice of the electricity usage. If you are using sizeable amounts of electricity for space heating then you are doing it wrong.
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DaveMart
          Everything in europe is heat pumps, dryers, water heaters, central heating too probably.
        Jon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        "Hawaii is the state that will first have the 'Germany' issue . . . so much solar that it becomes difficult to regulate the grid." The highly reliable and always correct wikipedia shows that in 2010 about 0.5 %. Extrapolating the trend of rapid increase they are showing I would guess they have passed 1% by now but I have not found more recent data. Is this already nearing the point where it becomes difficult to regulate?
      GR
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd really love to see Hawaii become the first state where EVs were the primary source of transportation. You can do it Hawaii!
      brotherkenny4
      • 1 Year Ago
      The small distances across the islands and gasoline routinely higher than four dollars a gallon, probably makes EVs a no-brainer in Hawaii. Typical cost benefit comparisons for EVs use gasoline prices closer to the mainland prices. For someone who drive 10K miles a year the savings at $4.28, which is what it is now, could mean an additional $100-150 in fuel savings annually, or $1000-1500 over the life of the vehicle, thus making the economic incentive even larger.
        Dave
        • 1 Year Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        "The small distances across the islands and gasoline routinely higher than four dollars a gallon, probably makes EVs a no-brainer in Hawaii. " Gasoline may be expensive in Hawaii, but electricity is obscenely expensive at 37 cents per kwh. http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_5_6_a Gasoline averages $4.29, apparently: http://www.hawaiigasprices.com/Prices_nationally.aspx So, we're talking 12 cents per mile for a Leaf and 8.5 cents per mile for a Prius.
          Dave
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave
          With electricity at 37 cents per kwh, solar panels may be worth considering even if you don't have an electric car.
          Nick Kordich
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave
          The EIA figures in this context are misleading - the average rate isn't important when almost all charging is done at night. The HECO residential time of use rate that folks would pay for charging their car during non-peak hours is about 60% that of peak/semi-peak hours, which as the name implies is responsible for the bulk of that average, skewing the average price upward.
          Nick Kordich
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave
          "Also, according to fueleconomy.gov, a Leaf in Honolulu emits 230 g / mile of CO2 while a Prius emits 222 g / mile." For all of the islands except Honolulu, that drops: 190g / mile when you tick the upstream emissions on the Leaf, which surprisingly is equal to the average for the Leaf and 38% that of the average new car. Oil's not a good way to generate electricity, but it's not as high in CO2 as coal, which is common on the mainland grid taken as a whole. Honolulu is home to AES-Hawaii. They run the islands' only coal plant, which burns 650,000 tons of coal a year, imported from Indonesia. They have a process that cuts down on the sulfur dioxide and smoke, but CO2's not so easy to neutralize - it's not a contaminant to the fuel, it's the oxidized fuel. By the way, you may notice if you change the state for the Prius on the side-by-side comparison page, it doesn't change the Prius' upstream GHG emissions. According to that, it's 179g/mile tailpipe and the same 43g/mile upstream whether you burn the gas in a Texas refinery parking lot or touring the islands. I wonder, how much upstream GHG should really be added to the Prius to account for hauling that gasoline in from the mainland or overseas? I couldn't find a quick answer, but I did notice that being in the middle of the ocean means that Hawaii gets a higher proportion of its oil from overseas, with it receiving more oil from Indonesia than the US. Upstream GHG emissions vary with transportation, but also in how fuel is produced, and Indonesia seems to be quite a bit dirtier than the US (double that of a relatively clean operation in terms of GHGs from flaring and fugitive emissions). On the flip side, this fuel oil is residual oil - what's left over when jet fuel, gasoline, diesel and various industrial products are produced. While I wouldn't go so far as to call it recycling, to be fair, upstream GHGs produced for extraction, refining, etc., are really being produced for the primary products, and wouldn't change even if the residual oil was pumped back in the ground. It's an interesting, surprising complex problem, when you try to analyze upstream GHGs - far beyond what I expect a web site calculator's going to take into account.
          Dave
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave
          Also, according to fueleconomy.gov, a Leaf in Honolulu emits 230 g / mile of CO2 while a Prius emits 222 g / mile.
          throwback
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave
          It seems EVs only make (financial) sense in Hawaii if you use solar panels. If owned a home in hawaii I certainly would invest in solar panels.
      Jon
      • 1 Year Ago
      They have a lot of work to do to clean up their grid. They are one of the few places in the US that still burns oil for electricity. In 2009 70% of their electrical power came from oil. The national average is 1.1%. Hope EV adopters are putting PV panels on their roofs!
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