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USA: Event will be opportunity to get plugged in to cars

KAHULUI – In order to further promote electric cars on Maui and educate the public about what their engines look like, how they work and are charged up, and how they handle firsthand, local supporters are hosting a local National Plug-In Day event Sept. 22 at the Maui Swap Meet.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which carries electric vehicles (EVs), is a main participant in the event along with the University of Hawaii Maui College’s Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance, said alliance project director Anne Ku. It will run from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Maui EVA is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to bring together stakeholders, help create more public charging stations and inform the public about electric vehicles, Ku said.
Article Photos

First Photo: The Chevrolet Volt and (Second Photo:) Nissan LEAF, both electric vehicles, will be available for the public to test drive Sept. 22 at the Maui Swap Meet as part of National Plug-In Day. Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which carries electric vehicles, is a main participant in the event along with the University of Hawaii Maui College’s Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance. It will run from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

An Enterprise official said the rental car company will help provide some wheels to take for a spin.

“It’s really exciting,” Ku said. “People can see, touch and feel what EVs are, because it may be intimidating to go to a dealership sometimes because you feel like you need to be ready to buy. Or it’s hard to find someone with an EV. So we wanted to make it visible, easy and approachable.”

The test drives will be free, said Chris Sbarbaro, vice president of sales and marketing for Enterprise Hawaii, which currently has several electric vehicles and top-notch tech hybrids.

Those interested will need to sign a release or two before they can take the new Nissan LEAFs or Chevy Volts for a whirl, he said.

In addition, Maui Toyota Scion will have on hand the plug-in Prius hybrid. Known as the first car rental company to offer EVs on Maui, Bio-Beetle Eco Car Rental, which has a fleet of 16 of mostly hybrids, or cars that run on biodiesel, will have a demonstration. Hawaiian Electric Vehicle Network (HEVN), a valuable information source and new EV rental company, will be there, too, Ku said.

Enterprise has committed to providing two free drawings for weekend EV rentals, one at the National Plug-in Day

and another at the county fair’s Maui EVA Booth. In addition, Enterprise is offering a kamaaina rate this month on rentals for LEAFs and Volts, she said. It’s $39.99 a day pre-tax, for the entire month of September.


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