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The Conversation

What's in the works to further electrify Hawaiʻi transportation?

solar-powered electric vehicle charging station generic
Ted Shaffrey/AP
FILE - A solar-powered electric vehicle charging station in New York City on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

More Hawaiʻi drivers are choosing to drive electric vehicles. It’s a trend that started long before gas prices started to rise, but the public charging stations have not kept pace.

The Legislature took steps to address that in the last session by increasing the number of public charging stations.

But that same measure also takes on a more ambitious goal of encouraging inter-island flights powered by electricity.

SB 3311, which we just passed and which is sitting on the governor’s desk, makes Hawaiʻi the first state to target the electrification and zero emissions transfer air transportation from island to island," said state Sen. Chris Lee, head of the Transportation Committee. "That’s something that’s never really been done before."

"But we have been working with electric aircraft manufacturers who are looking to roll out electric aircraft that can service inter-island routes. And that’s something that we expect will roll out very soon — in the next few years," Lee told The Conversation.

Another bill poised for the governor's signature, SB 2720, expands the existing electric vehicle charger rebate program which provides funding for public charging stations.

"We're really trying to up the number of options people have to finance and install these things," Lee said. "That's on top of the $18 million we just got from the federal government to put in public accessible chargers on all islands. So there's gonna be a lot more we're seeing rollout in the coming months and years."

This interview aired on The Conversation on May 31, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

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