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Electric Vehicle Frequently Asked Questions
Overview: Which programs provided by the Hawaiian Electric Companies support electric transportation?
Since 2010, Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Electric Light, and Maui Electric have offered discount EV charging rates in a pilot program to encourage customers to use EVs, especially in ways that best support our grids. EV owners paid a lower rate for charging vehicles at home during off-peak hours (9 p.m. to 7 a.m.) when enrolled on these rates. For more information, visit the "EV Rates and Enrollment" page.
The Hawaiian Electric Companies are also installing DC fast charging stations for public use on Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island to help make sure EV drivers are never caught without a place to charge. DC fast charging can charge an EV up to 80% of its battery capacity in 30 minutes.
Additionally, the Hawaiian Electric Companies continue to research new technologies and services which may benefit EV drivers and stakeholders, as well as all our customers.
Overview: Why do the Hawaiian Electric Companies offer discount EV rates?
The special rates are designed to:
- Encourage adoption of EVs and off-peak charging to help with grid stability;
- Make it easier for our customers to be part of the clean energy movement ; and
- Support the State of Hawaii's goal to reduce use of oil for ground transportation as well as electricity generation.
Vehicles and Charging: Why should I consider an EV for my next vehicle?
EVs offer many advantages. Federal tax credits up to $7,500; less money spent on your total household energy budget; and lower maintenance make them cheaper to own or lease. The cost per mile to drive a typical EV is lower than driving a typical gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle. EVs are quick and fun to drive. They provide environmental benefits such as reduced emissions and noise. EVs can park for free in state and municipal lots and at metered parking stalls. EVs can also use high occupancy vehicle lanes with just the driver on board.
Vehicles and Charging: How does paying for electricity compare to paying for gasoline?
In September 2015, on Oahu, regular gasoline cost approximately $2.78 per gallon and electricity cost approximately $0.27/kWh. With these energy costs, a mid-sized internal combustion sedan with an average fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon had a fuel cost of approximately 11 cents per mile while an EV with a range of 85 miles on a 24-kWh battery had a charging cost of approximately 8 cents per mile.
Taking advantage of Hawaiian Electric's EV rates and charging during off-peak hours, the EV charging cost could drop to about 6 cents per mile.
Vehicles and Charging: Are there rebates or incentives for purchasing an EV?
Currently, up to $7,500 in federal tax credit is allowed for the purchase of a qualifying EV. Vehicles with an electric vehicle license plate have certain exemptions for state and county parking as well as HOV lanes. For more details on federal & state incentives, please visit the U.S. Department of Energy web site at www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/law or call (877) 337-3463 or visit the Energy Division of the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism web site. Consult your personal financial advisor or tax preparer if you have questions.
Vehicles and Charging: Where can I get more information about a particular EV?
Please check the manufacturer's website or contact the local dealer for details about the EV you are interested in for vehicle pricing, batteries, charging specifications, safety, special programs, and other details. There are also links to EV manufacturers in our "Resources" page.
What do I need to consider before purchasing an EV?
If you are thinking of purchasing an EV, start by understanding the difference between a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle. Each has advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to find the one that fits your lifestyle. Things to consider are the distance of your commute and how you will charge the vehicle.
Several charging options are available. In some cases, a simple 120-volt plug-and-cord set using a standard outlet may be all you require. In other cases, you may want to purchase a faster Level 2 charger. Your EV dealer or manufacturer can help you make this decision. If you chose to install a Level 2 charging station, consult a licensed electrical contractor. As with all electrical upgrades, your county building department must approve plans and sign off when the installation is complete. More information on these topics is on our "Vehicle and Charging Basics" page.
The WattPlan for Electric Vehicles may help you better compare different electric vehicles with a conventional gas car.
Vehicles and Charging: Can the Hawaiian Electric Companies install an EV charger for me?
For residential service, the Hawaiian Electric Companies can only provide necessary service on the utility side of the meter. Please consult a licensed electrician for additional electrical work.
Under a pilot project, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are seeking commercial customers who would allow the utility to install and operate public DC fast charging stations at sites which may best assist EV drivers and the commercial site. Interested commercial customers should contact the GoEV program at 543-GoEV or GoEV@hawaiianelectric.com.
Vehicles and Charging: Can my business provide charging to customers or employees?
Any business can provide charging to customers or employees for a fee or as a service. If your business wishes to do so, please consult a licensed electrical contractor.
Rates Answers: What are TOU rates?
With TOU rates, you pay more per kilowatt-hour when electricity demand is higher and less when demand is lower. This is to incentivize customers to shift their EV charging to times when other demand is low and excess electricity generation is available, which helps us operate more efficiently and keep your costs down.
Rates Answers: How do EV Charging Rates work?
Residential customers who feel they may benefit from off-peak charging may submit an EV Rate Enrollment Form. Rate Schedule TOU EV replaces your existing meter with a TOU electric meter to measure your home electricity use and EV charging at different times of day. The lower off-peak rates are from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Rates are higher during other parts of the day.
Rates are designed so a typical customer does not have to change how electricity is used in their household, but to charge within off-peak hours to save money. Of course, customers can save more by shifting more electric use into the off-peak time period.
Rates Answers: If I am a Net Energy Metering (NEM) customer, can I continue to use NEM on the EV Rate?
Yes. Any excess power you send from your renewable energy installation (like solar panels) will be credited to your account at the same rate you would pay if you took power from the grid at that time.
Rates Answers: What will the Hawaiian Electric Companies charge for my new meter?
If you enroll in one of the EV Charging Rates, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, or Hawaii Electric Light will install a time-of-use meter at NO charge. An additional monthly fee of $1.50 for residential customers will be applied to your bill to cover additional operating costs associated with time-of-use rates.
Rates Answers: Can I get a copy of the EV rates?
All Hawaiian Electric Companies' rate sheets or tariffs are available on-line here.
Rates Answers: What kind of EVs qualify for the EV rates?
Eligible EVs get all or some power through a plug, have a battery with a capacity that is four kilowatt-hours or larger, and are qualified to drive on public streets, roads and highways.
Hybrids that do not plug-in to recharge their batteries do not qualify. Neither do "neighborhood EVs" (NEVs) and medium-speed electric vehicles (MSEVs) which the U.S. Department of Transportation classify as low-speed vehicles, not exceeding speeds of 35 miles per hour.