Evslin tells the bill for an electric vehicle

LIHU’E – A possible county ordinance to increase the number of public charging stations on the island is in its early stages.

Kaua’i County Council Member Luke Evslin previewed an electric vehicle (EV) bill that would increase charging points during the Kaua’i Climate Action Forum online panel on Wednesday .

Potential legislation, noted Evslin, is being developed in collaboration with board member KipuKai Kuali’i.

“What I’m saying here right now may not be the final form this bill will take, and it might even be a little premature to talk about it,” he said. “But I am excited about this forum.”

The project, in its current form, would require new parking lots with more than 50 spaces to include a two-level charging station. Existing lots would be given two years to come into compliance, and the number of required chargers in good working order would increase to four per affected lot by 2030. Failure to comply would constitute a zoning violation. The bill was not presented to council.

The minimum of 50 stands is half of the state’s current requirements, which impose loaders in lots of 100 or more stands. It also presents a number of issues that need to be addressed, according to Evslin, who said the number one problem potentially hangs over “cash-strapped” small businesses.

“It ends up bringing it back not only to Hyatts and Walmarts and Targets, but a number of small businesses would definitely be required to provide charging infrastructure,” he explained.

County facilities – including every beach park and neighborhood hub – would also be affected, calling for upgrades to install and maintain up to 50 new charging stations. Such an increase would eliminate the county’s ability to fully subsidize each unit, meaning that drivers who now use public chargers for free would have to pay.

“The downside to having these charging stations is that they have to charge at relatively high rates, at least compared to what someone could charge at home,” Evslin said.

“It will be clear that even these high rates will still be well, well, much lower than the cost of filling a car with gasoline. But I think it’s important, at least for me, to better understand whether people will still use the grid if the price per kilowatt exceeds the price of electricity.

Evslin said he and Kuali’i are encouraging members of the public to contact their offices to discuss potential legislation as it is being developed.

The council members’ initiative comes in the wake of state legislation passed this summer that allows counties to pass ordinances enforcing electric vehicle charger mandates and establishing penalties.

Noel Morin, president of the nonprofit advocacy group Hawai’i EV, was Wednesday’s keynote speaker.

The state has 16,588 electric vehicles registered in total, or 3.67% per capita. This small percentage actually reflects exponential growth, according to Morin.

Kaua’i has more electric vehicles per capita (0.68%) than the island of Hawai’i despite its much smaller population, with 495 of Kaua’i’s 73,298 residents driving electric vehicles. Honolulu County leads the state with 1.28% electric vehicles per capita, or 13,061 vehicles registered among 1,020,000 people.

“We do a lot here in Hawai’i. When I first bought my electric car – I think it was in August 2011 – I think there were less than about 500 electric vehicles in the state, ”he said. “He is developing very, very well from year to year.

Evslin and Morin predict that this upward trend will continue due to a multitude of factors, including the growing affordability of electric vehicles and major brands’ commitments to build fully electric fleets.

The online panel also featured Gordon Talbo, an automotive instructor at Kaua’i Community College, who said his program incorporated fully electric cars into its lesson plans.

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Scott Yunker, a general assignment reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or [email protected]

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