Project Better Place Comes to Hawaii… East Hawaii Residents on the Big Island Left Uncharged

For the last few years I have been blogging about Project Better Place coming to Hawaii and how I didn’t see it working on the Big Island very well.  Better Place today announced it’s network here in Hawaii and of course folks on the EAST SIDE OF THE ISLAND… ARE OT OF LUCK… Again.  See the map of charging station options available for Big Island users on the bottom of this press release.

Media Release:

Better Place today announced activating the largest electric car charging network in Hawaii, offering drivers free charging via more than 130 charge points through the end of 2012. The network allows drivers to charge their electric cars at convenient locations on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island that include hotels, resorts, office buildings, shopping centers, parking garages, businesses and public venues.

“As more Hawaii drivers experience the benefits of electric cars, it is important to have the network that gives people convenient access to charge their cars,” said Brian Goldstein, director of Better Place in Hawaii. “The Better Place network of Charge Spots on four islands offers more public charge points per capita in Hawaii than any other state. Our multi-island network is another step toward making sustainable transportation a reality in Hawaii and moves us toward achieving the state’s goal to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels by at least 70 percent by 2030.”

“As electric car adoption grows, we are excited to see the Better Place charging network in place and ready to support the Aloha State’s growing number of Nissan LEAF™ drivers,” said Brendan Jones, director, Nissan EV Marketing, Sales and Strategy, Nissan North America Inc. “Nissan understands the importance of locations to plug in when it comes to making EVs more convenient and enabling drivers to take full advantage of all electrified transportation has to offer.”

To use the network, drivers can signup for a free membership and see an interactive map of Charge Spot locations at www.betterplace.com/hawaii. New members will receive a welcome kit with a membership card, giving them access to all Better Place Charge Spots across the state, and a guide to using the network. Membership includes free network access for 2012. Beginning January 1, 2013, drivers will have the option to sign up for an affordable Better Place membership plan.

“Our vision is a world no longer dependent on oil, so for a limited time we are offering free membership to early electric car champions who can both help enhance the network with feedback from their own experiences and encourage more people to switch to electric driving in the country’s most oil-dependent state,” said Goldstein.

The Better Place network offers the public convenient locations to charge electric cars that are compliant with the current standard for plug-in vehicles in North America — such as the Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, and Mitsubishi i and other vehicles in the future— as a supplement to a primary charging location at home or work. The network is intended to support charging for periods of up to four hours, rather than overnight or long-term charging.

Over the past year and a half, Better Place has been working with businesses and property owners to install charging infrastructure across the state, as well as completing a project that included Chevy Volts, with funding in part from the State Energy Office at the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) and the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Chevy Volt customers have the freedom to drive their electric vehicles wherever and whenever they want,” said Britta Gross, General Motors Director, Global Energy Systems and Infrastructure Commercialization.“We applaud Better Place’s initiative to open its charging network to new Volt customers in Hawaii, who will benefit from the ability to drive on pure electricity more often.”

In April 2011, Better Place installed its first Charge Spots in Hawaii in the parking structure of the Sheraton Waikiki/The Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Today, there are also Better Place Charge Spots at five Starwood hotels and resorts on Oahu, Maui and Kauai.

“As the first Hawaii hotel to install charge stations, we are pleased to expand our partnership with Better Place to offer our guests – both visitors and kamaaina – convenient locations to recharge their electric cars, while helping our Islands become more environmentally sustainable,” said Keith Vieira, senior vice president and director of operations for Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii and French Polynesia.

Last year Enterprise Rent-A-Car began adding electric cars to its fleet on Oahu, enabled by Better Place Charge Spots at the Enterprise site next to the Honolulu International Airport.

“Since we installed our first charging station and began renting electric vehicles last year, the demand from both visitors and kamaaina has continued to increase,” said Paul Kopel, vice president and general manager of operations for Enterprise Rent-A-Car Hawaii.“More people are discovering the convenience of electric cars, and the addition of Better Place’s charge stations at our locations on Maui, the Big Island and Oahu will help meet the needs of EV renters.”

In March, Better Place will host a series of public events around Hawaii to increase awareness of electric cars and the Better Place charging network. We invite current electric car owners and those interested in learning more about electric cars to join Better Place and its partners for charging demonstrations. “Drive Electric Days” will be held as follows: Drive Electric Maui, March 9, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Kihei Town Center (Foodland Kihei); and Drive Electric Big Island, March 17, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kona Commons Shopping Center. Better Place also will be in the Hawaiian Electric Company booth at the First Hawaiian International Auto Show in Honolulu, March 30 to April 1.

About Better Place

Better Place is the leading global provider of electric car networks that enable the mass market adoption of electric cars through an innovative battery switch model that makes driving electric cars more affordable, convenient and sustainable than today’s gasoline-powered cars. Better Place owns and operates a network of battery switch stations and public/personal Charge Spots, along with the supply of batteries that power the cars, to provide drivers with instant range extension and the convenience to drive, switch and go across an entire region. Where possible, Better Place uses renewable sources of energy to deliver fully zero-emissions driving. The World Economic Forum has named Better Place a “Global Growth Company Industry Shaper” for its innovative approach in advancing the global switch to electric cars. Check out www.betterplace.com.

Blue represents the current stations... Grey represents PLANNED locations

Here is a video of former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle driving a Project Better Place car back in 2008 when company founder Shai Agassi first set his eyes on the Hawaii Islands:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/LH-FyvwsrEg]

5 Responses

  1. SO STUPID! 4 recharging spots within 40 miles, but no way to drive from Kona to Hilo and back! What idiots! Put one in Hilo, one in Kona, one in Kamuela and one in Naalehu and the entire island is covered. But with this layout there is NO WAY to use your all-electric car island-wide

    • The all electric cars… also use gas… so if need be… I guess you run your electric cars on gas on the East Side.

      • Not all cars are hybrids, the Volt I don’t think has a gas engine at all. And hybrids are obviously less efficient price-wise, weight-wise, and complexity-wise. Hybrids are probably the only reasonable thing for the mainland, but when you live on an island that’s blessed with all sorts of renewable energy sources, the ideal thing would be all-electric and boost the renewable energy producers. OTOH, with our electric rates, I’m not really sure how much money you’d save today!

  2. Now, that is what I call good news.
    Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I do this to keep the spammers away * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.