Going Down to Electric Avenue

Civil Beat - July 18, 2011
By: 
Chad Blair

For $2 an hour, and for up to four hours at a time, owners of Nissan Leafs and the like can "fill ’er up" electronically at Hawaii's Capitol — that is, charge their electric vehicle's battery. The new electric charger, installed at the Legislature last week, already has a customer in state Sen. Mike Gabbard. He says he's "stoked" by the new outlet."While I've got plenty of juice to get me to and from town every day, this will help alleviate some 'range anxiety' when I want to visit friends on the Windward side," said Gabbard, the West Oahu Democrat who also chairs Senate Energy and Environment.  The charger was installed by the state Department of Accounting and General Services and paid for through a federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant received by the State Energy Office.The charger is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The charger can be used by any electric-car visitor to the Capitol basement. Instructions are on the equipment, and credit cards are accepted."I got my Leaf in April and it's awesome not having to fill up for gas," Gabbard told Civil Beat. "This is saving us about $250 each month in my commute from Kapolei. The car has great torque and has been ranked by the EPA as the most efficient vehicle ever built for any fuel." In addition to Gabbard, state Rep. Mark Takai also drives an electric car.UPDATETakai told Civil Beat Tuesday the station will come in handy "if I need to 'top off' before I head home."But, because he has photovoltaic panels on his home, Takai usually charges his Leaf at night for just 11 cents a kilowatt."My electric bill was only $17 last month, and I drove 1,200 miles on my car," he said.For information about the state's policies related to electric vehicles, click here