Slow build-out of charging infrastructure could hurt EV adaption rate in Hawaii

This story appeared in the Pacific Business News on Wednesday, October 4

The anticipated exponential increase in the number of electric vehicles on Hawaii roads could be slowed by the lack of charging infrastructure in the Islands, according to a new report.

The Rocky Mountain Institute, which released its latest report on Tuesday, said the risks of not having sufficient charging infrastructure to support surging EV sales is now greater than the risk of building underused charging stations.

“In the U.S., EVs are on track to beat gasoline cars on price, without incentives or subsidies by 2025, but the current pace of charging station construction is unlikely to keep up,“ Chris Nelder, a manager in RMI’s mobility and electricity practices and report author, said in a statement. “Without a vigorous and sustained construction program of EV-charging infrastructure, the U.S. is likely to see its vehicle electrification ambitions stifled.”

In Hawaii, the report showed, there’s currently only one public DC fast charger per 88 EVs and one Level 2 charger per 12 EVs.

While EVs account for less than 1 percent of the more then 1 million registered passenger vehicles across the state, the total number EVs increased by more 34 percent year-over-year to 6,217 last month.

Hawaiian Electric Cos., the state’s largest utility company, recently installed its 12th DC fast charger in the state. Hawaiian Electric was previously authorized by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to install, own and operate up to 25 publicly accessible fast chargers. The Honolulu-based utility said it is currently seeking strategically located sites to serve the needs of apartment dwellers, commuters and visitors.

“We have recently brought onboard a general manager for electrification of transportation, and early next year will send the PUC a strategic master plan to include increasing charging infrastructure,” Peter Rosegg, senior communications specialist and spokesperson for Hawaiian Electric, told Pacific Business News in an email. 

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