Local Nonprofit Organizations Receive Electric Vehicles

The Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) Charitable Foundation and Hawaii Electric Light Company recently donated Smart electric vehicles to three local nonprofit organizations. The vehicles and symbolic keys were presented to representatives from the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island, HOPE Services Hawaii, and the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

“At HEI, we strive to be a catalyst for a better Hawaii,” said Connie Lau, HEI president and CEO and chairman of the HEI Charitable Foundation. “The HEI Charitable Foundation is proud to partner with Hawaii Electric Light to recognize these wonderful organizations and at the same time promote the use of electric vehicles on Hawaii Island and throughout our state to help Hawaii achieve a clean energy future.”

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The popularity of electric vehicles has risen in recent years as the world takes greater notice of the importance of reducing reliance on fossil fuels for transportation. They also cost less per mile than vehicles with a conventional gasoline-fueled engine, and they are good for the environment by reducing emissions and noise pollution. The donated cars are lightly-used Smart ForTwo electric vehicles with an average mileage of 4,000 miles. The cars come equipped with electric charging equipment and are valued at more than $10,000. HEI worked closely with Mercedes-Benz of Honolulu who inspected, registered, and ensured delivery of the vehicles to the nonprofit organizations.

“These deserving organizations strengthen our community by nurturing our youth, offering hope to our less fortunate, and providing our students with quality higher education,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “We know these electric vehicles can broaden their reach and support their efforts to serve our community.”

The Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island’s mission is to inspire and enable Big Island youth to be productive and responsible citizens, through quality programs in a safe and caring environment. It provides after school services for youth ages 6-17 Hilo, Keaau, Pahoa, Pahala, and Ocean View.

“In the words of our keiki when experiencing something new, fun and exciting: ‘Awesome!’ It is truly awesome to gain this environmentally-friendly resource and have an educational tool that helps us teach our lessons of sustainability, science and resource management,” said Chad Cabral, Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island chief executive officer. “What better way to let kids see how an electric vehicle works, view the electric engine components, and speak about energy efficiency concepts. We are thrilled to have this educational resource. Mahalo to the HEI Charitable Foundation and Hawaii Electric Light.”

HOPE Services Hawaii provides an array of services to the homeless. The organization envisions a world where those who face great challenges realize their value and self-worth. Programs and services include homeless outreach, residential housing programs, prison re-entry services, representative payee services, and one-stop centers. The organization plans to use the electric vehicle to transport program participants to become document-ready for housing by helping them obtain identification as well as helping them find gainful employment and comply with their legal requirements.

“We end homelessness by housing at least 270 households each year. We intentionally serve those with the deepest needs first and help at least 85% of them stay housed forever – never returning to homelessness,” said Brandee Menino, HOPE Services Hawaii chief executive officer. “We do this work because it improves the health and wellness of the people we serve, maximizes the potential of each individual and family we serve, and is economically in the best interest of the taxpayers of Hawaii to end homelessness rather than manage homelessness.”

The University of Hawaii at Hilo offers its 4,000 students a wide range of liberal arts and professional programs, as well as a number of graduate and doctoral programs. As a campus of the University of Hawaii System, its purpose is to challenge students to reach their highest level of academic achievement by inspiring learning, discovery and creativity inside and outside the classroom.

“We are thankful and honored to have been selected as one of the recipients,” said Jerry Chang, University of Hawaii at Hilo director, University Relations. “This is another step in our goal of conservation and starting an Energy Science program at UH Hilo.”

For more information about the benefits of electric vehicles, please visit www.hawaiielectriclight.com.

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