Electric transport systems for islands (Hawaii)
The state of Hawaii and Hawaiian Electric are building an alternative transport system using electric vehicles with exchangeable batteries, along with a battery recharging network of thousands of stations connected by the internet, in efforts to cut carbon emissions and expensive fuel imports, at a cost of $1 billion. The plan, designed to reduce the time it takes to recharge a battery, provides quick-change service stations to swap batteries. Switching a battery will take no longer than the time it takes to fill a tank of gas, and people could stay in their cars.
The plan has been developed by Shai Agassi founder of the company ‘Better Place’, whose goal is to make driving an electric vehicle affordable and convenient. He has raised $200 million in private financing to support the plan. Better Place would own and provide the batteries. Customers would pay for a subscription to charge up their cars the same way they pay to use a cell phone, but by the mile instead of by the minute.
The network idea is an appropriate model for island economies that typically have higher energy costs. Hawaii has about 1.2 million cars and replaces 70,000 to 120,000 vehicles annually. As envisioned, Hawaii would be home to at least 3,000 electric cars in 2010 and 50,400 in 2015. By then Hawaii would also be supplied with a network of up to 100,000 charging stations powered by renewable energy sources.
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