If you were 95% dependent on imported oil, you'd want EVs, too

The state of Hawaii is ramping up efforts to encourage electric-vehicle adoption by increasing the number of electric vehicle and charging station rebates it gives out this year. There's little wonder why this is important, since Hawaii is the country's most oil-dependent state and is looking to boost renewable-energy use.

Under Hawaii's "EV Ready" program, publicly accessible electric-vehicle charging stations will be installed in all of the state's counties, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Hawaii granted more than 400 rebates last year to purchasers of electric vehicles and chargers.

EV Ready is part of a $4.5 million funding program from the DOE and 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act geared to cut the state's transportation fuel usage by 70 percent by 2030. By that year, Hawaii, which now gets more than 95 percent of its energy from fossil fuels, also hopes to generate 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind.

Automakers have already recognized the state's leading role in EV adoption. Both Nissan and Mitsubishi included Hawaii among their launch states for the Leaf and i battery-electric vehicles in November 2010 and November 2011, respectively. Additionally, California-based AeroVironment reached an agreement with the state last year to install as many as 320 electric-vehicle chargers throughout the state and made its first installation last September. So far, Hawaii has 59 electric-vehicle charging stations, or about one for every 7,600 light-duty vehicles, according to the DOE's Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center. By comparison, California has about 1,450 electric-vehicle charging stations, or about one for every 14,000 light-duty vehicles.

Meanwhile, General Motors and The Gas Co. announced in 2010 that it would develop a hydrogen-fueling infrastructure throughout Hawaii, and later enlisted another 10 companies and public entities and set a goal of building as many as 25 fueling stations on the islands by 2015 to encourage fuel-cell vehicle use.

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