East Hawaii News

Hawai’i Electric Unveils New EV Fast Chargers

May 25, 2016, 9:03 AM HST
* Updated May 25, 8:41 AM
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Hawai'i Electric Light courtesy photo of Hilo EV Fast Charge Station.

Hawai’i Electric Light courtesy photo of Hilo EV Fast Charge Station.

Electric vehicles on the Big Island now have two new locations for charging.

Hawai’i Electric Light announced the opening of two utility-owned fast chargers on Tuesday with a dedication ceremony for a new unit at the company’s main office on Kilauea Avenue in Hilo.

A dedication ceremony for a unit at Hawai’i Electric Light’s Kona office on Kaiwi Street will be held on Wednesday.

“Our customers are at the center of everything we do,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawai‘i Electric Light president. “One of our goals is to provide customers with more services and options, including an electric vehicle program. The DC Fast Charger is one part of the program.”

Hawaiian Electric Companies received approval to operate publicly-accessible DC Fast Chargers across the Big Island, Maui County, and O‘ahu. The facilities allow drivers to quickly recharge their vehicles for a per-session fee.

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Most charging stations offer chargers at Level 1 or 2, which take anywhere from 3-20 hours to fully charge an EV.

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Hawai’i Electric Light’s two new facilities feature a Level 3 fast charger that can recharge a near-depleted EV battery to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes, and even less time for smaller recharges.

This is the first Level 3 charger in East Hawai‘i and the second in West Hawai‘i. The DC Fast Charger has both a CHAdeMO connection, which is used mostly by Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Kia Soul EV, and a CCS connection, used by the BMW i3.

The fast chargers are available 24/7 with three different rates, ranging from $7.00 to $8.00 per session, depending on time of use. Session prices may change based on the changing cost of electricity. Drivers will be able to safely operate the charger and pay by credit card or by a Greenlots subscription.

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The Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission authorized a five-year demonstration for the utilities to install, own, and operate up to 25 fast chargers in their service territory. Additional sites are now being sought on O‘ahu and the other neighbor islands.

Although these fast chargers are located on publicly-accessible utility property, most will be located on privately-owned sites. Hawai‘i Electric Light will operate the equipment at no cost to the host for installation, maintenance, or electricity. Hosts must be willing to provide the requested space and minimal assistance for operation.

Hosting a fast charger helps with compliance of the state law that requires public parking lots with at least 100 parking spaces to have at least one exclusive parking space for electric vehicles equipped with a charging station. The host gains recognition as an early supporter of electric transportation and clean energy.

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