POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 29, 2011
Question: With all of the electric cars now being produced, are they still allowed to park for free?
In 1997 the state Legislature passed Act 290, which provided incentives for electric vehicles, such as special license plates, free vehicle registration and free metered parking.
All the perks ended after five years, except for the free parking in metered state and county parking spaces.
Last year there was a legislative proposal to allow electric vehicles that could go at least 55 mph to travel in HOV lanes, regardless of the number of passengers, but it did not advance.
Question: Recently there have been several news stories about “charge spots” for electric cars. How long does it take to fully charge an electric car?
Answer: On average it takes six to eight hours, said Joe Paluska, vice president/communications for Better Place, the electric vehicle services provider that’s involved in a pilot project testing charge spots on Oahu.
The idea is that “when you come home at night, you’ll plug in and charge,” he said. “Same when you go to work.”
Although it depends on the size of the battery, he said a fully charged vehicle will be able to go 100 miles. It’s not known how much it would cost to plug in once public charging stations are set up. Paluska said each market is different.
“In Denmark, for example, which is the only market so far where we’ve announced a price, Danish drivers can select from one of five packages for mobility services — all of them fixed price over four years — including an all-you-can-drive option,” he said.
He didn’t provide a figure, but said Danish drivers, on average, will save 10 to 20 percent a year on total vehicle and fuel costs versus similar gasoline-powered cars.
Better Place has installed five charging spots at the Sheraton Waikiki as part of a $1.1 million pilot project. Five more will be installed at Hawaiian Electric facilities on Oahu.
Question: When Colleen Hanabusa ran for Congress, she pledged that she would move into the district she represents if she got elected. Did she move?
Answer: Not yet. Hanabusa, who represents District I (Urban Honolulu), still lives in Ko Olina. However, she has put her house up for sale and has been looking at apartments in downtown Honolulu.
She “is still looking,” said spokeswoman Ashley Nagaoka.
“She would eventually like to buy a home somewhere in Manoa or maybe East Oahu, but until she sells her current home — and we all know how difficult the market is for everyone right now — she will most likely have to rent an apartment,” Nagaoka said.
While state and country elected officials have to live in the districts they represent, the U.S. Constitution only requires members of the U.S. House of Representatives to live in the state they represent.
U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, for example, lives in East Honolulu and not in the 2nd Congressional District, which covers rural Oahu and the neighbor islands.
Meanwhile, Hawaii’s two U.S. senators represent the entire state.
To the new city groundskeeper at Nahele Park in Newtown Estates. I am impressed at the workmanship of the weed-whacking and grass-cutting being performed at the park recently. Even the weeds look beautifully manicured even if it lasts only a few days. It takes a lot of personal pride to do beautiful maintenance work at a public park, which will last only a week or two. As a retired former supervisor of public workers, I am glad that there are public workers out there who still take pride in their work, as menial and repetitive as it may be. — Appreciative Taxpayer
Write to “Kokua Line” at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.