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Island’s first direct current fast charger highlighted at Electric Vehicle Expo

Elon Musk, CEO and Chief Product Architect of Tesla Motors, predicts that within 30 years, the majority of new cars made in the United States will be electric – not hybrid, but fully electric. On Sunday, July 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Shops at Mauna Lani, Charge Bliss, Inc., and Island-Wide Solar LLC in association with the Big Island EV Association will host the Hawaii Island Electric Vehicle (EV) Expo at the Shops at Mauna Lani.

The Shops at Mauna Lani will receive the island’s first direct current fast charger for electric vehicles that is able to charge electric cars to 80 percent battery capacity in 30 minutes. The intent of the expo is to celebrate the building of infrastructure for zero emission transportation on the island of Hawaii.

“Charge Bliss is our partner who brought the charger to us with the opportunity to install it here,” said Michael Oh, general manager at the Shops at Mauna Lani. “I’ve been searching for an opportunity to install a charging station here at our shops, knowing that there are a number of residents that own EV vehicles. It will take 30 to 40 minutes at most for someone to come in and charge their vehicle.

They can have dinner while their car charges, and in less than an hour it will be fully charged. It’s all very exciting.”

The event’s co-sponsor, Big Island Electric Vehicle Association, was formed in 2011 by Douglas Teeple, a Hawaii Island resident and electric vehicle owner. The association’s mission is to promote and facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles on Hawaii Island and reduce our dependence on petroleum while improving the environment.

“I’ve been pushing hard to get good infrastructure here on the Big Island,” said Teeple. “Without infrastructure, it’s very difficult to own an electric car here. We have to get off fossil fuels for transportation. It’s said that Hawaii’s biggest export is money. Something like four billion dollars a year just flows out of our hands for transportation costs. We would like to have a charging station about every 30 miles around Hawaii so you can drive anywhere you want without ever worrying about running out of charge. Once the infrastructure is in, drivers will be able to drive anywhere around the island without worry.”

The inauguration of the first direct current fast charger is a critical step in advancing clean transportation on Hawaii Island, and The Shops at Mauna Lani elected to make their location the lead example in this project.

“I think it’s difficult for people who are interested in an electric vehicle to really move forward with the purchase of a new EV because infrastructure just doesn’t exist on our island to allow transportation from one side to another,” said Oh. “You just can’t get across the island on a single charge. Having more stations located around the island is going to be crucial to allowing the consumer to seriously consider purchasing an electric vehicle while living on the island of Hawaii.”

The latest electric cars from Nissan USA and Tesla will be on display, as well as representatives from the companies to answer questions. There will be wine, food booths and entertainment as well.

Danny Akaka will give a blessing at 10 a.m.. Senator Mike Gabbard, chair of the Energy and Environment Committee, is the master of ceremonies. Senator Russell Ruderman, vice chair of Energy & Environment committee and a longtime Hawaii Island renewable energy advocate and Councilwoman Margret Wille will also be in attendance. The event is free and open to the public. The event is keiki friendly.

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