Hawai'i is a little greener this year as we approach Earth Day, thanks in large part to the state's adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). And which county in Hawai'i has the highest number of registered EV's per capita? That would be our very own Maui with 424. According to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism's (DBEDT) Monthly Energy Trends, we are the fastest growing county in the state, which totals 2,375 EVs (O'ahu, 1,757; Hawai'i Island, 114; Kaua'i, 80). When the Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance (EVA) first started in October 2011, there were 100 EVs registered in Maui County.
According to statistics, Maui County topped both New York City and Shanghai as one of the leading EV cities in the world. Under the guidance of Maui EVA, Maui entered World EV Cities in June 2013, a project of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Rocky Mountain Institute and UC Davis. (A chapter on the challenges and lessons learned from introducing EVs to Maui County will appear in a new book commissioned by the IEA on e-mobility business models.)
Maui EVA was seeded with a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of their Clean Cities Initiative Awards, which was given to the University of Hawai'i Maui College (UHMC) in partnership with DBEDT to accelerate the adoption of EVs in Hawai'i. Those seeds blossomed with the support of businesses, local and state government officials, and the community.
EV IN PARADISE
Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance
Just a few years later, a number of UHMC faculty and staff have themselves opted to purchase EVs. Participants involved in the Maui EVA project learned early on about EVs. Hitachi loaned two Nissan LEAFs for four months in an EV Promotion Project at the college, which gave participants the opportunity to experience driving, parking and charging EVs.
Nissan's attractive leasing program nationwide for employees of accredited universities and colleges also caused a surge in EV adoption.
In April 2013, Hawaiian Electric Vehicle Network (HEVN) donated the first EV charging station to the college, installed at the automotive technology building. Plans for the installation of level-two charging stations and outdoor outlets on campus showed support for workplace charging. And then, JUMPsmart Maui installed its first DC Fast Charger at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center, located conveniently and directly across from campus.
Maui EVA raised awareness of this new technology that will help meet Hawai'i's Clean Energy Initiative targets and transform the way we live. Every person and organization who has invested in an EV and/or charging station is a "real" stakeholder.
To celebrate the journey, on Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, the public is invited to UHMC from 9:30 to 6 p.m. for events organized by the Sustainable Living Institute (SLIM), Student 'Ohana for Sustainability (SOS), UHMC Music Department and UHMC Culinary Academy (see "Earth Day Event Schedule" sidebar).
Electric vehicle drivers are encouraged to arrive early to park in the reserved stalls for photo sessions after the blessings.
In addition, all music classes will be open to the public for the entire week of Earth Day, April 21 to 25. For detailed information, visit, maui.hawaii.edu/music.
Dr. Anne Ku directed the Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy until January 2014. She currently teaches piano and music literature at the college. Visit www.mauieva.org.