Minutes Instead of Hours – Maui Gets Its First Fast Charger for Electric Vehicles
by Wanda Moore
(Wailuku) Maui county is ready to charge… The Maui County revealed the first fast charger for electric vehicles on the island.
Instead of charging your electric car for hours, this small station will do the job in just a few minutes. An important step to get more green powered cars on the road – for residents and visitors alike.
Electric cars have become increasingly popular in the state with the highest gas prices in the nation.
High gas prices and short distances make Hawaii the perfect environment for electric vehicles and expert estimate that the state will have the highest concentration of EVs by 2020.
The Maui County hopes that the DC fast charger will get the ball of more EV chargers across the island rolling.
“I think of it similar to an empty dance floor,” said Anne Ku, Project Director of Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance during the opening ceremony for the fast charger. “No body wants to be the first on the empty dance floor. You just wait. You see an EV get on the dance floor. You see a second one. Eventually everybody is on the dance floor except for you.”
“Weʻre real excited that we have installation of the first DC fast charger anywhere on Maui,” said Rob Parsons, Environmental Coordinator for the County of Maui. “Any electric vehicle owner can get a key fob from the Maui County Business Resource Center at the Maui Mall for just $20 and then come here and charge anytime that these stalls are available.”
With the first fast charger, hopes are that more visitors go for an electric vehicle that might have been reluctant before. Number one concern for most has been that you might make it to your destination – but not back. Now you can go around the island, with a 20 minute charging stop in Wailuku.
“Right now if your donʻt have the ability to use a fast charger it can take you three, four, five hours to get your car charged up,” said Dough McLeod, Energy Commissioner for the County of Maui. “So this is the fundamentally different technology. Itʻs what will allow you to really get this done in 15 minutes and maybe just have it be an extra errand instead of having to plan your day around it.”
“Because it prevents range anxiety. Just knowing that there is a DC fast charger here at a place where you can park for free,” said Ku. “Hopefully people (property owners) who get used to it, try it, will realize ʻwhy donʻt we install one elsewhere at our own property.”
“Itʻs a great opportunity for a lot of our customers to be able to rent a vehicle and be able to charge it here in less than 30 minutes versus having to go home and charge an electric vehicle for over 20 hours,” said Chad Itagaki, Area Rental Manager at enterprise.
The Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance celebrated National Plug in Day at the Swap Meet, and gave people the opportunity to take an electric car for a test drive and get some hands on experience.
“This was my first test drive of an electric vehicle,” said Gary Waller, a visitor from Iowa who tried the EV with his wife Monette. “I liked it. Very quite. Very smooth. Good ride.”
“I thought it was really nice,” said Monette Waller. “It was very comfortable. You could feel the acceleration you didnʻt feel like you were pudding along. It really moved nice.”
“We live in Iowa so sometimes we go on longer journeys and so it would not work for longer journeys but for around town driving and if youʻre driving less than a 100 miles it would be a great vehicle.”
The message the Maui County set was loud and clear – with more charging stations on the island more green electric vehicles will follow to protect Mauiʻs environment for generations to come.