BY JOE PALUSKA – HONOLULU, HAWAII – Better Place today announced the initial deployment of its electric car network infrastructure in Hawaii. The installation of the first 10 charge spots across Oahu – five at the Sheraton Waikiki and five at three Hawaiian Electric sites – is the result of cross-sector partnerships between Better Place, Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts (Kyo-ya), Starwood Hotels & Resorts Waikiki, Hawaiian Electric Company and the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture.
“Better Place’s electric vehicle network is an innovative approach to integrating electric vehicles into our island grids,” said U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye. “This network made up of federal, state and private sector investments is transforming Hawaii’s transportation system into one powered by clean energy from electricity instead of imported oil. I am pleased to have been able to play a small role in reaching this important milestone.”
The project includes seven electric cars. Kyo-ya will operate two of them and Hawaiian Electric will own five of the cars. The cost of this pilot project is approximately $1.1 million, of which about $500,000 in funding was provided through the U.S. Department of Energy and the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture.
“This partnership between different business sectors is a great example of working together to move Hawaii in the direction of energy independence,” Governor Neil Abercrombie said. “Through this collaborative effort we are one step closer to being less dependent on fossil fuels while creating jobs in green technology and keeping money in our local economy.”
“The electrification of transportation will speed the adoption of renewable energy in Hawaii,” said Jason Wolf, Vice President, Better Place North America. “At scale, batteries in electric cars and in our battery switch stations serve as a distributed energy storage network, allowing Hawaiian Electric to tap into the rich diversity of renewable energy sources here. As such, Better Place plays a critical role in helping the State reach its policy objectives as well as creating local jobs.”
Kyo-ya is the first in Hawaii’s visitor industry to participate in this electric car charging network and will use the electric cars as fleet vehicles and shuttles to transport VIP guests between the airport and its four Waikiki hotels.
Hawaiian Electric Company has purchased five electric cars and has installed five chargers as part of this landmark project. The electrification of transportation will allow the utility to bring more renewable energy to the grid.
In the initial pilot phase of the Better Place charging network, the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute of the University of Hawaii will track usage, recharge performance, and grid and driver behavior.
The launch of the electric car charging network “supports the clean-energy goals that Governor Abercrombie and President Obama have for our state and nation,” said Brian Goldstein, Director, Better Place Hawaii. He added that it marks Better Place’s first in-the-ground milestone not only in Hawaii, but in the United States. “Hawaii can be proud to be showing our nation the way toward a sustainable transportation future,” he said.
Better Place, the world’s leading electric car services provider, is accelerating the global transition to sustainable transportation. Better Place is building the infrastructure and intelligent network to deliver a range of services to drivers, enable widespread adoption of electric cars, and optimize energy use. The Better Place network addresses historical limitations to adoption by providing unlimited driving range in a convenient and accessible manner. The company works with all parts of the transportation ecosystem, including automakers, battery suppliers, energy companies, and the public sector, to create a compelling solution. Based in California and privately held, Better Place has operating companies in Israel, Denmark, and Australia. More information is available at www.betterplace.com.
Joe Paluska is with Better Place.