Why Hawaii is becoming a leader in U.S. EV adoption

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107399486 1712775508575 gettyimages 1206551165 a tai hnl 200305 7r300147

Customers in Hawaii show a strong interest in electric vehicles, with the state ranking fifth in overall EV adoption and third in J.D. Power’s “EV Adoption Score.” Elizabeth Krear of J.D. Power notes that consumer choice is a key factor in adoption, with Hawaii leading in adoption despite not being part of the California Air Resources Board’s Zero-Emission Vehicle program.

Several factors contribute to Hawaii’s embrace of EVs, including high fuel costs, renewable energy availability, and a cultural commitment to land stewardship. The popularity of hybrid models in Hawaii has also facilitated the transition to EVs, with road trip concerns being less of an issue due to the island’s size and gasoline prices being high.

Despite the growth in consumer interest in EVs in Hawaii, Aloha Kia reports that EVs account for only about 2% of their sales. Interest is growing, however, with the introduction of models like Kia’s new EV9 SUV. Concerns about charging infrastructure, affordability, and limited vehicle choices still exist in Hawaii, mirroring challenges faced on the U.S. mainland.

While Hawaii presents a favorable environment for EV adoption, individuals like Scott Sageman acknowledge challenges such as terrain affecting the estimated range of EVs. Prices for EVs in Hawaii remain high, with average costs surpassing $62,600 this year.

The affordability and infrastructure hurdles associated with EV adoption suggest that progress will be gradual, with higher-income Americans leading the charge in EV ownership nationwide. Drury underscores the need to address these challenges in order to further increase adoption rates and make EV ownership more accessible to a wider population in Hawaii and beyond.

Hawaii is emerging as a leader in electric vehicle adoption in the United States, with 11.9% of new retail vehicles sold being EVs through February of this year. The state ranks fifth overall in EV adoption and third in J.D. Power’s EV Adoption Score, behind only California and Washington. Factors contributing to Hawaii’s high EV adoption rates include high fuel costs, availability of renewable energy for charging, and a culture that values stewardship of the land. Road trip concerns, a hurdle for some buyers in the U.S., are not a problem in Hawaii due to the state’s small size and limited travel distances. Gasoline prices in Hawaii are among the highest in the country, further incentivizing consumers to make the switch to electric vehicles.

Despite the high adoption rates, EVs still represent only about 2% of sales at dealerships in Hawaii. Challenges to further adoption include a lack of charging infrastructure, affordability issues, and limited vehicle choices. The average cost for consumers buying an EV from a franchised dealer in Hawaii is over $62,600, though this price has decreased from previous years. High prices are a national trend, with upper-income Americans being the subgroup most likely to own an EV. Overcoming obstacles such as infrastructure and high costs of living will take time to address and may slow down further EV adoption in Hawaii and across the country.

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