Electric vehicles donated to UH Maui College Native Hawaiian program

This article was originally published by University of Hawai'i News on October 7, 2020. 
people by electric car
From left: Lawrence Martinson, Sharon Suzuki, Gregg Kresge, Benjamin Guerrero, Thomas Hussey, Lui Hokoana

Students in the Native Hawaiian Career and Technical Education Program at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College have their first all-electric vehicles (EV) to work on. Hawaiian Electric presented a donation of two 2012 Nissan Leaf EVs to provide hands-on maintenance and repair experiences.

Established in 2019 as a result of community feedback collected by Hawaiian Electric and with a grant from the Native Hawaiian Education Association, the UH Maui College program was developed to provide Native Hawaiians and other Hawaiʻi residents, especially in rural areas of the state, career opportunities in the emerging field of EV maintenance and repair outside of original manufacturers’ warranties. The program held its first training session in June 2019 with seven mechanics from Molokaʻi participating in the inaugural class.

“We’re grateful to Hawaiian Electric…for recognizing a need on Molokaʻi and taking action,” UH Maui College Chancellor Lui Hokoana said in a release. “Working together with UHMC and the Native Hawaiian Education Association, not only are all seven of Molokaʻi’s automotive mechanics now versed in servicing electric and hybrid vehicles, but our own automotive technology students are benefiting from the donation of these two Nissan Leaf electric vehicles. Partnerships like these move our community forward.”

Sharon Suzuki, Hawaiian Electric’s president of Maui County and Hawaiʻi Island Utilities said in a release, “We appreciate the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College and the Native Hawaiian Education Association for offering this valuable training that further promotes the adoption of EVs to help offset the use of traditional fossil fuels on our islands.”