Experts discuss ways to increase Hawaii's EV adoption rate, see growth opportunity among heavy-duty vehicles

This story appeared in the Pacific Business News on Monday, November 13th

Heavy-duty vehicles such as delivery trucks, transit busses, shuttles and freight terminal tractors will be the next vehicle segment to see a significant growth in terms of electrification in Hawaii, according to industry leaders.

More than 60 energy and transportation experts participated in a workshop last week to discuss strategies to advance Hawaii's efforts in electrifying its transportation sector.

The one-day workshop, which was put on by Hawaiian Electric and hosted at Hawaii Pacific University on Nov. 9, featured speakers from Ford, ride-sharing platform Lyft and California-based electric bus manufacturer Proterra, among others.

Workshop participants discussed ways to increase Hawaii's EV adoption rate for all types of vehicles, lower customer costs and add more renewable energy sources the Hawaii's energy grid, the Honolulu-based utility said in a statement.

While Hawaii has the second highest rate of EV adoption across the U.S., EVs still make up less than 1 percent of all registered passenger cars in the state. According to the Hawaii State Energy Office, out of more than 1 million registered cars across Hawaii in October only 6,490 were EVs. However, the figure represents a 33.4 percent increase from October 2016.

While House Republicans propose to eliminate the $7,500 federal tax credit toward the purchase of EVs as part of their tax-reform plan, car manufacturers across the world are investing heavily in electric vehicles. According to the speakers at the workshop, manufacturers will introduce dozens of all-electric models with extended battery range over the next decade.

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