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USA: Electric vehicle charging station law lacks enforcement

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) –

A law designed to provide incentives and ease the minds of electric vehicle owners isn’t meeting its expectations because there’s no enforcement to ensure it works. Act 89 was signed into law last April and went into effect immediately. It requires all parking lots with more than a hundred spaces to provide an electric vehicle charging station and a designated stall.

“We are spending $4 to 6 billion dollars every year importing over 40 million barrels of oil. The law is designed to decrease that amount of oil that we’re importing and to help those that purchase electric vehicles,” explained State Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair of the Senate’s Energy and Environment Committee.

When Act 89 was passed in 2012, there were only 600 electric vehicles on the road, now there’s close to 2,000.

“We really need to look statewide and give a fairly high degree of certainty that no matter where you drive you’re going to be able to charge up and that you’re really going to be able to use these cars comfortably in Hawai’i,” said Robert Harris, Director of the Sierra Club of Hawai’i.

Harris, who drives an electric vehicle himself, considers it the future of transportation in Hawai’i, but admits there are concerns for potential buyers.

“There’s this chicken or the egg problem in that – if you don’t have the electric charging stations then people are uncomfortable about purchasing electric vehicles, so really it’s the sort of thing we really need to have both going on,” explained Harris.

Harris says in order for the state to promote it’s clean, renewable energy goals it needs to build its EV charging station infrastructure.

“There are some clear areas on Oahu and even worse on the neighbor islands where there really is going to be places where you just cannot charge – and as long as those gaps form then electric vehicles aren’t as strong of an alternative as they could be,” Harris said.
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