Hawaii is not doing too bad in efforts to move away from fossil fuels and focus on electric vehicles. Overall, Hawaii ranked 11th out of all 50 states — and the District of Columbia — for its electric vehicle policy progress, according to a new report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, or ACEEE.
Hawaii scored 40.5 out of a possible 100 points in a scoring system for the rollout of EVs spanning areas like planning and goals, incentives for deployment, and transportation system efficiency. California, a national leader in this effort, scored a 91.
The rating system for EVs is a new feature of the the nonpartisan ACEEE.
On a related note, Hawaiian Electric Co. announced the rollout of seven new fast-charging, publicly available electric vehicle stations on Maui and Oahu.
The four new chargers on Maui are located at the Lahaina Aquatic Center, Piilani Village Shopping Center, Pukalani Terrace Center, and Queen Kaahumanu Center. According to HECO, the chargers can supply a typical EV with 40 miles of range in 15 minutes.
This brings HECOs fast charging stations to five on Maui and one on Molokai, serving a growing number of EVs. There are now over 13,000 registered EVs in Hawaii.
As reported in Hawaii Business news, “Transitioning to electric vehicles is vital for the climate and for reducing costs for households and businesses,” Bryan Howard, state policy director at ACEEE and lead author of the report, said in a statement. “The leading states are embracing this transition, but many more are just starting, even as the automakers are preparing a burst of new electric models.”
Hawaii, along with California and New York, was credited as a policy area leader in electricity grid optimization to reduce carbon emissions from that sector. The Islands ranked third in that metric, its best category, with a score of nine out of 10.
The Islands had their poorest-rated categories in transportation system efficiency, at one out of 12, and equity for underserved areas, at 0.5 out of 10. In rural areas, affordable residential charging needs to be developed.
Hawaii has a rebate program for multifamily and commercial properties to receive a rebate for installation of EV charging stations. Hawaii Energy recently put out a last call for three rebates programs for businesses expiring June 30. The State Legislature is currently reviewing the next round of funding for the program.
The Islands ranked 14th in the overall 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released by ACEEE in mid-December.
Building a reliable public EV charging infrastructure is important to Hawaii’s clean transportation goals, reducing emissions. When tied into energy grid changes, this allows the islands to use more renewable energy.