Hawaii EV ownership grew 26% last year, but lack of chargers holding back growth

According to new survey data from Ulupono Initiative, an investment firm focused on sustainability projects, Hawaii’s limited charging infrastructure is holding back the state’s transition from ICEs, despite an upward trend in EV ownership throughout Hawaii.

In the white paper “The Extra Mile: Why Electric Vehicles Make Sense for Hawaii’s Economy, Environment and Communities,” Ulupono Initiative says there are simply not enough public charging stations throughout the state to support the ever-growing number of EVs purchased by residents.

Surveyors also found that:

  • Resident Hawaii EV drivers are generally dissatisfied with the existing charging network in the islands. The most common criticism was limited access to charging stations throughout the state.
  • Sixty-eight percent of EV owners were receptive to paying a fee for charger usage. Acceptance of a usage fee tended to be even higher for EV owners on neighbor islands.
  • The state may be missing out on efficiencies among visitors, as a majority of Hawaii visitors surveyed (56%) stated they probably would have rented an EV if it were available.

According to the Hawaii State Department’s February 2019 Monthly Energy Trend Highlights report, there are 8,685 registered EVs in Hawaii, a 26.1% increase from the same month the previous year. However, EVs still only account for less than 1% of the 1,073,686 total registered passenger vehicles in the state.

The white paper notes, “It is critical that public- and private-sector stakeholders foster a supportive ecosystem for EVs by adopting progressive policy and ensuring that infrastructure, in the form of charging stations, keeps pace and precedes demand. Postponing investments in such infrastructure is unlikely to generate cost savings. Requiring new facilities to be EV-ready adds less than 1% to the cost of development, while installing EV infrastructure post-construction costs three times more. Upfront investments are cost-effective, smart and essential future-proofing.”

Source: Ulupono Initiative