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Six federal grants promote electric vehicles in Hawaii

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The effort to put more electrical vehicles on Hawaii’s streets got a boost today with the awarding of $2.6 million in federal grants to install and promote charging stations across the state.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism said six companies and organizations will receive grants ranging from $50,000 to $854,00 under the program paid for with federal stimulus money. The “EV Ready Grant” program is designed to complement the “EV Ready Rebate Program,” another initiative funded with stimulus money that provides a $4,500 rebate to individual consumers for the purchase of an electric vehicle and a $500 rebate for a home charging station.

Proponents of electric cars say creating a network of charging stations is a key step in getting consumers to embrace the technology because they want the assurance that they will be able to recharge their vehicles when they are away from home. The Nissan Leaf, the first mass-produced electric car to be sold in Hawaii, has a range of about 100 miles on a single charge.

Grants were awarded to:

Better Place, $854,000, for charging stations on all islands and the introduction of EVs to a rental car fleet.

AeroVironment, $820,000, to install up to 320 charging stations on all islands, conduct grid integration analysis, and accelerate electrical vehicle introduction to dealerships and vehicle fleets.

GreenCar Hawaii, $200,000, to introduce EVs to car-sharing services within the hospitality industry.

County of Kauai, $267,000 for charging stations on the Garden Island and EVs for County fleets.

City & County of Honolulu, $400,000, for charging stations on Oahu, EVs and an online charger permitting system.

Plug In America, $50,000, for an EV Ready Guidebook for Hawaii, along with education and outreach.

“With the price of oil escalating because of unstable conditions in the Middle East, it’s even more important for all of us to find ways to cut our use of imported fuel,” said Estrella Seese, Acting Program Energy Administrator, State Energy Office.

“Charging an electric vehicle costs much less than filling a tank with gasoline. Drivers will be saving on fuel costs, less fuel will be used for the same amount of mileage, and in the near future, electric cars will run on electricity produced from renewable resources such as the sun and wind.”

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