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HELCO Updates Electric Vehicle Strategic Roadmap

November 29, 2018, 12:48 PM HST
* Updated November 29, 1:21 PM
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Click to view Electrification of Transportation (EoT) Strategic Roadmap.

As electric industry leaders convene in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, to mark one-million plug-in electric vehicle sold in the United States, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are releasing an expanded update of the Electrification of Transportation Strategic Roadmap that quantifies benefits of clean transportation.

Last March, the companies filed the roadmap with the Public Utilities Commission describing near- and long-term actions and benefits of reducing dependence on imported fossil fuel for transportation as well as electricity.

The plan foresees Hawai‘i in 2045 with most personal, light-duty vehicles powered by electricity generated by solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal and other renewable resources. The March filing included only numbers for O‘ahu; the update includes projections for EV adoption and potential benefits for Maui and Hawai‘i islands, assuming EV adoption on O‘ahu of 54%, on Maui 59% and on Hawai‘i Island 40% by 2045.

Replacing fossil fuels with electricity for passenger transportation over the next 27 years could also provide broader benefits to Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawai‘i Electric Light customers, whether or not they own an electric vehicle. The economic benefits of electric transportation to the islands’ total “energy wallet”—including lower fuel and maintenance costs and potential lower household energy costs as lower-cost renewable resources come online:

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Benefits increase if more vehicles “fill up” on low-cost solar during the day (smart charging), avoiding evening peak hours when electricity generation is most expensive, decreasing the cost of energy for everyone.

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The Hawaiian Electric Companies’ roadmap is available online.

In addition, in coming years, the strategic roadmap says, charging cars, trucks, buses and heavy equipment is expected to make room on the grid for nearly 200,000 private rooftop solar systems and many grid-scale renewable projects offering low-cost energy to every customer of the three companies.

Worldwide, plug-in vehicle sales have passed four million units including two million in China (including heavy-duty commercial vehicles) and one million in the U.S. 10% of passenger cars on the road in Norway are plug-ins.

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In Washington, Edison Electric Institute, the trade association of investor-owned public utilities, is gathering to “Celebrate 1 Million EVs on U.S. Roads!” Among the speakers discussing the future of electric transportation, what companies are doing to move this market forward, and why it matters is Alan Oshima, president and CEO of the Hawaiian Electric Companies.

With 8,000 EVs registered, Hawai‘i remains among the leaders electric vehicles per capita but California leads in raw numbers, with about half the EVs in the country. Electric vehicles are slightly more than 5% of the total autos on California highways. More than 2% of vehicles in Oregon and Vermont are electric.

With the transition to EVs fully underway, a new report released by the Edison Electric Institute and the Institute for Electric Innovation, Electric Vehicle Sales and the Charging Infrastructure Required Through 2030, projects that U.S. EV sales will exceed 3.5 million vehicles in 2030, reaching more than 20% of annual vehicle sales.

The report also predicts more than 18 million EVs to be on the road in the U.S. in 2030 with EV owners charging cars at home, on the street, at the office, at shopping locations, or along major highways. Meeting customers’ needs requires strategic deployment of charging infrastructure and collaboration among all stakeholders. Electric company participation in development of EV charging infrastructure supports state-level clean energy and transportation goals, expands customer choice, and helps support the growing number of EVs on U.S. roads.

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