Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hawaii Endorses Plan for Electric Cars


A New York Times article published December 2 describes how Hawaii is looking to become a testing ground for electric vehicle infrastructure. The piece opens like this:

The State of Hawaii and the Hawaiian Electric Company on Tuesday endorsed an effort to build an alternative transportation system based on electric vehicles with swappable batteries and an “intelligent” battery recharging network.

Looks like an island environment like Hawaii is a good place to experiment. The following is excerpted from the piece:

[Silicon Valley software executive] Mr. [Shai] Agassi has argued that even if oil prices continued to decline, his electric recharging network — which ideally would use renewable energy sources like solar and wind — could provide competitively priced energy for a new class of vehicles.

He supposes that his network idea will be appropriate first for “island” economies that typically have significantly higher energy costs, and then will become more cost-competitive as it is scaled up.

“We always knew Hawaii would be the perfect model,” he said in a telephone interview. “The typical driving plan is low and leisurely, and people are smiling.”

Hawaii is a relatively small market with high energy costs. The state has about 1.2 million cars and replaces 70,000 to 120,000 vehicles annually.


Drivers on the islands also rarely make trips of more than 100 miles, meaning there will be less need for his proposed battery recharging stations. Part of Mr. Agassi’s model depends on quick-change service stations to swap batteries for drivers who need to use their cars before they have completely recharged their batteries.

1 comment:

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