(BIVN) – The Hawai‘i Electric Light Company has installed a new utility-owned and operated electric vehicle DC fast charger in Kaʻū, the company’s fifth fast charger on the Big Island.
The new charger is located at Punalu‘u Bake Shop in Na‘alehu.
“We are pleased to have been selected as the new EV site in the district of Ka‘u,” said Connie Koi, Punalu‘u Bake Shop general manager, in a HELCO media release. “Located in such a remote area, we can understand the need of having a charger easily accessible for nearby residents. Hopefully, this availability will encourage more people in Ka‘u to switch over to save and to preserve our environment.”
“At the Hawaiian Electric Companies, one of our goals is to provide customers with more services and options. The DC Fast Charger is part of our effort to build the infrastructure to support electric vehicle adoption and lead the clean energy transportation revolution,” said Sharon Suzuki, the president of both Maui County and Hawai‘i Island Utilities.
“Fast chargers encourage clean transportation and help us integrate more renewable energy so we can reach our statewide goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045,” Suzuki added. “We’re proud to partner with Punalu‘u Bake Shop to bring the first fast charger to serve the south Hawai‘i community.”
Other HELCO charger units are located at the company’s offices in Hilo and Kona, KTA Super Stores in Waimea Center, and The Shops at Mauna Lani. The utility company operates the equipment at no cost to the host for installation, maintenance or electricity. Hosts must be willing to provide the requested space and minimal assistance for operation.
According to HELCO:
A DC fast charger is a Level 3 charger that can recharge a near-depleted EV battery to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes, and even less time for shorter recharges. The charger has a CHAdeMO connection (used mostly by Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Kia Soul EV) and a CCS connection (used by the BMW i3). The unit is available during the bakery’s business hours. Rates range from $0.51 to $0.53 per kilowatt-hour depending on time of use and payment can be made with a major credit card or a Greenlots subscription.
The subject of electric vehicles and their relationship to road maintenance costs has been a topic of much discussion recently.
While electric vehicles are expected to become more common in Hawaiʻi, the cars do not contribute as much to fuel tax revenues, since the vehicles use either less or no fuel. The fuel tax revenues fund the repair and maintenance of island roads.
The state is looking at ways to deal with the issue. Community meetings are being scheduled around Hawaiʻi in March and April, as the Department of Transportation considers a switch to a “pay-per-mile-driven” charge, instead of fuel taxes.
There is also a bill moving at the state legislature that establishes an annual vehicle registration surcharge fee for electric vehicles to be deposited into the state highway fund. Senate Bill 409 has passed through the senate is March 15 the House Committee on Transportation recommended the measure be passed.
Meanwhile, HELCO is exploring another charging location. The utility says “to become a DC Fast Charger host site, call 808-969-0358 or contact the company by mail at Hawai‘i Electric Light (GoEV), Engineering Department, P.O. Box 1027, Hilo, HI 96721. Detailed information on electric vehicles also is available here.”