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Plug-In Hybrid Cars Added to County Fleet

April 24, 2012, 5:06 PM HST
* Updated April 24, 5:10 PM
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The County of Hawaii today took a step toward reducing its $7 million annual fuel bill with the introduction of its first electric cars.

Five 2012 Chevy Volts were introduced to the public at a ceremony at the West Hawaii Civic Center. The plug-in hybrid vehicles will be charged using power provided through charging stations connected to the 250-kilowatt photovoltaic array on the civic center’s roof.

According to information from the county, a Volt has a capacity of 30 miles on a full charge. An onboard gasoline-powered generator provides power for longer trips, with its nine-gallon gas tank extending the car’s range another 300 to 400 miles, depending on topography.

The Volts will initially be used by three county departments: Parks and Recreation, Planning and the Office of Housing and Community Development. The other two vehicles will be assigned to the office of Mayor Billy Kenoi for use by other departments.

“We want everybody to use it, we want to test it, everybody will log it – where you drove, how it drove, miles driven, just to make sure that we can grow the County fleet and have it be an electrical fleet, especially when we have free electricity that powers our building and now powers our vehicles,” Kenoi said in a statement issued by his office.

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Each vehicle cost the county $47,000 and comes with a seven-year warranty. The price of each vehicle was offset by a $4,500 state credit.

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Kenoi said the five Volts are just the first step in creating a more energy-efficient county fleet.

“We will slowly and incrementally begin implementation of a larger electric vehicle and hybrid fleet here in the County of Hawai‘i,” he said. “It’s not something we should do, it’s something we must do.”

Each of the three charging stations at the Kona center, installed through a grant from Better Place Inc., can handle two vehicles at a time, and are available for public use during regular business hours when available. It takes about 3½ hours for a full charge.

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The first use of electric vehicles by the federal government occurred 13 months ago when 116 cars — a mixture of Chevrolet Volts, Nissan Leafs and Think Cities — were distributed to 20 agencies in five cities across the country.

 

 

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