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HECO wants to give discount to electric car owners

Hawaiian Electric Co. has asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to approve a pilot project to promote the early adoption of electric vehicles on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island with discounts for charging them overnight.
To encourage charging of vehicles during off peak hours between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., the initiative wouldl offer lower electric rates, according to a release from HECO. On Oahu the proposed rate would be about six cents per kilowatt hour below the residential rate. HECO also want to charge more during peak hours between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. The peak rate would be about three cents per kilowatt above the residential rate. Neighbor island residential off-peak charging rates will be about seven to 10 cents per kilowatt hour lower than the residential rate.
The proposed three-year pilot program will be open to 1,000 customers on Oahu, 300 in Maui County and 300 on Hawaii Island for charging highway-capable electric vehicles. The pilot project rates will go into effect October 1, 2010 for three years pending approval by the Public Utilities Commission.
“Our goal is to make Hawaii EV-ready as new, highway-capable EVs are expected to hit the market in the coming year,” said Robbie Alm, Hawaiian Electric executive vice president.
“We also want to send a message to automobile manufacturers to include Hawaii among the first markets where EVs are available. This is another step in our commitment to the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.”
The Blue Planet Foundation, a local non-profit working to accelerate Hawaii’s transition to clean energy, said it supports the proposal.
“Blue Planet applauds Hawaiian Electric’s move to make electric vehicles more cost effective while taking advantage of off-peak power,” said Jeff Mikulina, Blue Planet executive director.
“Because an increasing amount of off-peak power is from renewable sources, this proposal would put more clean energy into the ‘gas tanks’ of Hawaii’s vehicles.”
The proposed rates could provide a substantial savings for motorists, HECO said in the release. For example, on Oahu a mid-sized internal combustion engine sedan with average fuel economy of 27 miles per gallon has a fuel cost of 12 cents per mile at $3.35 per gallon of gasoline. At current electricity rates on Oahu, including the discount for the off-peak rate, a mid-sized electric vehicle with a range of 100 miles on a 24-kilowatt battery has a charging cost of 5 cents per mile. The July residential electricity rate is 25 cents per kilowatt hour, or 19 cents per kilowatt hour with the discount.

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