Last week, at the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo, the State of Hawaii announced that it has signed an agreement with Nissan North America to promote the rapid deployment of electric vehicles throughout its island territory, through a combination of purchase incentives and support for the installation of charging stations.
The Nissan Leaf EV will arrive in showrooms in January 2011.
“Nissan is a global leader in electric vehicles, and the state of Hawaii has shown similar leadership through its progressive policies and focus on clean energy,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America. “Hawaii’s drivers share that commitment, as demonstrated by their strong interest in the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, zero-emission vehicle, which arrives in Hawaii in January.”
Hawaiian Senator Daniel K. Inouye, commenting on the announcement said, “This partnership personifies Hawaii’s commitment to a future powered by clean, sustainable sources of energy. In order to change the energy consumption patterns of our population, we have to offer drivers alternatives to vehicles that rely on imported fossil fuels. More than 90 percent of the fuel and energy we consume in Hawaii is the product of imported oil. Given our unique access to clean, renewable, energy sources, Hawaii should serve as a model of what is possible when government and business collaborate to plan a path forward into an energy efficient future.”
The state will offer a $4500 incentive towards vehicle purchase plus an additional $500 towards the cost of a charging station. When combined with Federal incentives, this brings the vehicle price down as low as $20,780. When combined with pending legislation aimed at raising fuel taxes and vehicle weight taxes (aimed at raising funds for highway improvements), this could be a compelling reason to consider trading in a gas guzzler right away.
According to Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, the state has set aside $4 million of federal stimulus funds to help pay for the tax credits. At $5000 each, this allows for the purchase of 800 highway-capable electric vehicles on the island.
The relatively small size of Hawaii’s island road system makes it an ideal fit for an electric vehicle with a 100 mile range.
Also entering the market is California-based CODA Automotive, which announced its intention to launch its four-door, five passenger, all-electric sedan in Hawaii in the third quarter of 2011. CODA will begin selling its cars on the mainland, which boast a 120 mile range (compared to the Leaf’s 100) in the fourth quarter of this year. CODA’s proprietary battery management system, maintains the battery at an optimal working temperature which allows it to generate 40% more usable energy than any other electric vehicle in its class.
According to the company’s website:
CODA is working in a smart, interdependent way with more than 30 leading global technology and manufacturing companies across four continents to quickly and efficiently bring electric drive technology to market. Through its exclusive battery system joint venture with Lishen Power Battery, Lio Energy Systems, CODA is also a large-scale producer of power battery systems for transportation and utility applications.
Hawaii’s governor, Linda Lingle said, “CODA Automotive’s all-electric vehicle is another important addition to Hawai’i's efforts to transition to a clean energy economy. The State of Hawai’i recognizes new electric vehicle technology and the electrification of the transportation sector will play a critical role in helping Hawai’i reduce its dependency on the use of fossil fuels and achieving our 70 percent clean energy goal by 2030.”
RP Siegel is co-author of the eco-thriller Vapor Trails.
Follow RP Siegel on Twitter