H O N O L U L U (( Transit Thread ))
photo credit to >> feloniousvindaloo@flickr
Hawaii to be FIRST STATE with electric car stations
State Rep. Kymberly Pine, Better Place founder Shai Agassi, Gov. Linda Lingle and state Rep. Gene Ward looked under the hood of a model electric car yesterday at the state Capitol.
Sources: Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star Bulletin
Here's some pretty awesome news for Hawaii and very good to see given the high fuel costs and dependency on foreign oil.
Hawaii has unveiled plans to be first in the nation to roll out electric car stations statewide — a move the governor hailed as a major step toward weaning the islands off oil.
Hawaii imports foreign oil for almost 90 percent of its energy needs. One-third of that oil is used to power cars and buses on island streets.
Gov. Linda Lingle said Tuesday the program would help Hawaii meet its goal of slashing fossil fuel use 70 percent by 2030.
"This is the preferred future," Lingle said at a press conference. "Today is a part of the execution of our energy independence, and our getting off the addiction to oil."
Better Place, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, will build the car recharging stations and provide recharged batteries for electric cars.
The company will purchase renewable energy — such as wind power — from Hawaiian Electric Co., the state's largest utility.
Better Place plans to have the stations open for the mass market by 2011. It expects to build between 50,000 to 100,000 charge spots — in parking lots, downtown streets, and neighborhoods — across the state by early 2012.
Other communities, like the San Francisco Bay area, have announced plans to host Better Place recharging stations. But Hawaii aims to be the first to have the stations statewide. Better Place also has deals to create electric vehicle infrastructures in Israel, Denmark and Australia.
Shai Agassi, Better Place's founder and chief executive officer, said the Nissan Motor Co.-Renault SA auto alliance has agreed to make electric cars that would be recharged at the stations.
Better Place is also talking to other automakers, including the U.S. Big Three: Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Co., and General Motors Corp. Ford is planning to accelerate the roll-out of electric vehicles as part of its restructuring plan, submitted to Congress Tuesday. The first plug-in vehicle will be a Transit Connect small van for commercial use in 2010 and a car the size of the Ford Focus compact the following year.
Ford also said it will accelerate plans for hybrid gas-electric vehicles.
Lingle said other carmakers have an incentive to follow Nissan/Renault because they would want to sell cars in the new markets Better Place is creating.
"Nobody will want to be left on the sidelines once these networks are up," Lingle said.
Agassi said the electric cars will cost the same as gasoline powered vehicles.
Over time, however, they will be cheaper to make because they will use half as many parts as cars with internal combustion engines.
Better Place picked Hawaii for the first statewide rollout in part because the islands are a contained environment, with few vehicles coming in and out, Agassi said. Better Place would need to build a bigger network across several states to serve some mainland markets.
Hawaii also has abundant renewable energy resources, including wind, solar, geothermal and wave power. This is important because Better Place won't use oil, and aims to have a "zero carbon footprint."
For example, Agassi said Better Place plans to recharge its batteries at night with power from Hawaii's wind farms. That power normally goes unused because of Hawaii's low nighttime energy needs.
Agassi sees Hawaii as an ideal place to show off Better Place technology because the state welcomes over five million tourists each year from the U.S. mainland, Japan, Canada and the rest of the world.
"If we can get them into electric cars when they rent, we do two great things," Agassi said. "One, we avoid emissions and, two, we use the opportunity to educate them, to teach them in Hawaii how it needs to be done in the rest of the world."
Lingle said the state doesn't expect to spend any money to facilitate the network. However, she said the state may need to offer tax breaks or other incentives to encourage people to buy electric vehicles when they are first offered.
From gasoline to electric
The state announced yesterday a plan with Palo Alto, Calif.-based Better Place to make Hawaii a blueprint for U.S. electric car use.
Better Place founder: Shai Agassi
Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative: The plan includes at least 3,000 electric cars on isle roads in 2010 and 50,400 electric cars in 2015.
Expected cost of Hawaii plan: $1 billion
System would include: Up to 100,000 charging stations
Shai Agassi, founder and chief executive of Better Place, first spoke with Gov. Linda Lingle this spring, proposing an ambitious outlay that would make the state a blueprint for U.S. electric car use. Yesterday, the governor announced a plan with the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company that would include up to 100,000 charging stations around Hawaii and possible state incentives for thousands of electric car buyers to be rolled out in the next several years.
"Our path, the direction of energy independence, is not based on what happens to the barrel of oil," Lingle said at a press conference announcing the plan. "We have to reach a secure and clean energy future."
In the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative initially rolled out in January and expanded in October, the state said it expects to have at least 3,000 electric cars on isle roads in 2010 and 50,400 electric cars in 2015. Better Place plans to begin permitting for the network in the next year and introduce vehicles within 18 months and have mass-market availability by 2012.
Mass-market availability: 2012
Bike-sharing plan offers new way to get around Honolulu
Source: Honolulu Advertiser
Nguyen Le plans to launch a network of bike share stations in and around Honolulu. The system offers students, tourists and others a quick, cheap way to go short distances. It has already proved popular in Europe.
Bike sharing, popular in several European countries and in its infancy in many U.S. cities, may be coming to O'ahu next spring in a privately funded pilot program.
Nguyen Le's "Momentum B-cycle" proposal would allow people who pay for the service to hop on a bike in Manoa and leave it at a designated rack in Waikiki without worrying about where to park. Riders could also bike to and from Aloha Tower, Ala Moana Center and Downtown.
The rack locations haven't been secured yet, Le said, but several business owners have expressed interest.
"It's so early in the process right now that the bikes and racks are still being tested by the national vendor," Le said. "We should have them on order by late November or early December and we'll have contracts signed soon with businesses who want the racks at their locations."
To start, 100 bikes will be available in 10 solar-powered bike racks with locks that are released with the swipe of a bike-share pass or a credit card.
The first half-hour will be free; the next 30 minutes will cost the rider $2.
Bikes will be available 24/7.
Momentum B-cycle is targeted to launch on June 1. Le's goal is to eventually have bike racks across O'ahu and within a five-mile radius of rail transit stops.
"The intent is to make it easier for residents and tourists to connect to mass transit and key locations," Le said. "It's good for the community."
Chris Sayers, bicycle coordinator for the city Department of Transportation, said the city will monitor bike sharing because it could work well with mass transit.
"The devil is in the details," Sayers said. "Right now, the bike-share program doesn't have much to do with us, but in theory it looks really good."
<< Transportation Systems >>
- By air, land, sea...
1. Honolulu International Airport
: major airlines; domestic/inter-island and international.
2. Kalaeloa Airport
: mainly a commuter facility used by unscheduled air taxis and general aviation.
Major (locally-based) Inter-island Airlines
- excluding smaller prop jets
I. Hawaiian Air
: inter-island, domestic and international service
On the Web >> Hawaiian Airlines
II. Mokulele Airlines
On the Web >> Mokulele Airlines
III: Go! (part of Mesa Airlines)
On the Web >> GO! Airlines
: filed for bankruptcy; inter-island, domestic, international
1. The Bus
: Island-wide transportation which include 24 hrs. express routes.
On the Web >> The Bus
2. Waikiki Trolley
: mainly used by tourists but serves Waikiki, Sea Life Park, Downtown, etc.
On the Web >> Waikiki Trolley
1. Hawaii Superferry
: inter-island transportation. One is already in use to and from Honolulu and Maui with 2nd addition in the near future.
On the Web >> Hawaii Superferry
2. The Boat
: Honolulu's commuter ferry with service to and from Kalaeloa/Barbers Point Harbor (Western Suburb Area) and Aloha Tower in Downtown Honolulu. Two are available.
photo credit to >> HiDovey@flickr
On the Web >> The Boat
<< Future Transportation >>
Honolulu's Elevated Light Rail Project
Honolulu Rail Transit is a proposed 20-mile elevated rail line being developed that will connect West O‘ahu with downtown Honolulu and Ala Moana and, one day, will extend even further to Honolulu International Airport, Waikiki, UH Manoa and Kalaeloa. The system features 200-foot-long electric, steel-wheel trains capable of carrying more than 300 passengers each. Trains can carry more than 6,000 riders per hour. By 2030, up to 90,000 riders per day are expected to use rail transit.
Total Construction Costs
Salt Lake Route
*Amount estimated after the system is built. City officials have used other construction cost figures as low as $3.9 billion for the Salt Lake route. However, that is in current dollars and does not include inflation or interest the city will have to pay.
Operation, Maintenance Annual Costs
Salt Lake Route
**Amount the city is estimated to spend on the rail system, not including TheBus and HandiVan costs. City officials have said the operation and maintenance costs are about $60 million, but those figures also do not include inflation.
Notable Properties Possibly Affected by The Rail Transit Project
» Banana Patch, a multigenerational community with 10 homes and Alpha Omega Christian Fellowship Church, to be fully acquired.
» Solmirin House, a one-story plantation-style house built in 1937, to be fully acquired.
Along Dillingham Boulevard
» Boulevard Saimin Restaurant, a two-story building from the 1960s, to be partially acquired by losing its parking lot.
» Afuso House, a one-story plantation-style home built in the 1960s, with the home to be acquired.
» Higa Fourplex, a historic, two-story plantation-style home on Dillingham Boulevard developed in the 1940s before World War II, to be fully acquired.
» Texeira House, a one-story plantation-style home built in the 1940s, to be fully acquired.
» Radford High School, a small area of the parking lot to be acquired.
» Waipahu High School, some of its buildings might be displaced.
» Honolulu Community College, with a small area of land to be acquired.
» Aliamanu Elementary and Middle School, with a small area of land to be acquired.
» Kanpai Bar and Grill, 404 Ward Ave., to be fully acquired because of an unidentified hazardous material on its site.
On the Web >> Honolulu Transit
The projected schedule for rail transit is:
I. Completion of Final Environmental Impact Study - summer 2009
II. Groundbreaking and start of construction - late 2009
III. First segment completed - 2012
IV. Segments opened on completion - 2012 to 2017
V. Completion of 20-mile route from Kapolei to Ala Moana - 2018
VI. Extensions to Honolulu International Airport, Waikiki, UH Manoa, and Kalaeloa will be built pending future funding.
*The Honolulu INTL Airport route may be built first instead of the Salt Lake route--so stay tuned for more information.