News Column

Businesses Satisfied with EV Stations

Oct. 25, 2012

Alan Yonan Jr., The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Electric Vehicles

Businesses on Oahu that installed electric vehicle charging stations in the past 18 months are generally pleased with the results, and more than three-quarters of those polled said they are not charging for the service, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Honolulu Clean Cities Coalition surveyed 22 commercial property owners with a total of 76 public charging stations in the first comprehensive review of the island's budding charging network.

"Without widespread standards for how to install and manage EV chargers, properties are defining their own best practices and early adoption trends are slowly emerging," according to the coalition, a nonprofit group with government and industry members.

About 88 percent of the businesses polled reported that installation, maintenance and management of the charging stations "has not been difficult."

Of those surveyed, 77 percent said they were allowing hook-ups at no charge.

Those offering free charging said they were either treating the service as a property amenity, or were offsetting the charge costs using an advertising-supported business model.

However, those offering the service for free said they may begin charging for it once there is a noticeable increase in demand, the report noted.

The two charging stations at Pearlridge Center have been well-used since they were installed in February, said Fred Paine, the center's general manager.

"The special parking spaces and the charging stations are occupied most of the times when I pass by -- throughout the day, weekdays or weekends," Paine said. "Our customers with electric vehicles seem to really appreciate the free charging service -- and the opportunity to charge their vehicles while they are already here shopping," he said.

The 76 charging stations covered in the report accounted for 59 percent of the 129 public charging stations on Oahu that were operational when the study was done in January.

As of September, there were 177 charging stations on Oahu, according to the study.

Most of the businesses that were early adopters of the stations reported doing a considerable amount of research into the subject, reading news articles, conducting Internet searches and meeting with EV specialists and representatives from charging companies.

When asked why they decided to install charging stations, the top responses were to comply with state law (73 percent), support "sustainable energy" (64 percent) and consumer demand (18 percent).

Respondents also said that incentives from the Hawaii EV Ready Grant Program, which was funded with $2.6 million of federal stimulus money, also was a major consideration in their decision.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Source: (c) 2012 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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