Maui Economic Development Board’s (MEDB) EV Showcase held this past Saturday at Queen Kaahumanu Center, reaffirmed that it’s an `ohana affair when it comes to Electric Vehicles (EVs).
Residents around the island came to view EVs and hybrids and hear firsthand from experts about the vehicles from Kia, Tesla, Toyota, Chevy, Nissan and BMW; representatives from HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union and Maui County Federal Credit Union advised on financing options; and seasoned students walked participants through Maui Electric Company’s WattPlan for Electric Vehicles to learn how EV or hybrid compares to a conventional vehicle.
EVohana by JUMPSmartMaui also launched their new membership program which provides access to 44 chargers across 13 Fast Charger stations island-wide – the largest network of fast chargers on Maui. Earlier this year, MEDB accepted ownership of these stations and are working with community partners on a sustainability model of the fast charging network service in Maui. For information, visit www.EVohana.com.
Throughout the event, the excitement over these cutting-edge vehicles was palatable as industry stakeholders and the community shared information as well as their experiences and insights on EVs and plug-in vehicles.
“It was exciting to see people asking questions about what it would be like to have an EV as part of their family driving or business needs and learning about the new EVohana membership program,” said MEDB President and CEO Leslie Wilkins. “MEDB is proud to support Hawaii’s goal for achieving 100% renewable energy by 2045. Supporting transportation options like EVs that minimize our carbon footprint contributes to this important goal.”
“The EV technology has definitely gotten better, the vehicles are holding their charges more and they have better ranges,” said Wailuku resident Mark Mizuno, who stopped by to learn more about these vehicles. “I consider myself a green person, so an EV fits into our lifestyle.”
According to Fred Redell, Energy Commissioner for the County of Maui, “The EVohana by JUMPSmartMaui project is a great first step. This membership program offers the ability for people to charge their EVs on the largest network of Fast Chargers on Maui. In the future, we also see EVohana and other providers that do something similar bringing their resources together to participate in stabilizing Maui’s electric grid through the use of EVs.”
During the event, the County of Maui and Maui Electric shared various ways they are working together to encourage more EV adoptions, such as adding charger locations and starting workplace charging programs, a county-wide effort which they hope will make workplace charging a standard rather than the exception and contribute to greater EV adoption.
“Achieving a clean energy future for Hawaii means transforming the way we power transportation as well,” said Gregg Kresge, director of renewable energy at Maui Electric. “That’s why we’re excited to be working with energy partners like MEDB, County of Maui and Hitachi to help make it easier for people to buy and drive electric vehicles so we can continue the transition to clean transportation.”
“MEDB has always been about innovation and advancing economic development that supports and respects our community and our environment – EVs are a perfect intersection of that,” said Wilkins. “We extend a big mahalo to all who sponsored, supported and came out to attend our EV Showcase. It truly felt like one big EV `ohana.”
The EV Showcase was presented by Maui Economic Development Board and sponsored by the County of Maui, Maui Electric Company, Hitachi, Aloha Kia Maui, Maui Toyota, Maui County Federal Credit Union, HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union and Queen Kaahumanu Center.