Hawaii Strives to Lead on Electric Vehicles

Hawaii officials are hoping to make the state a leader on the usage of electric vehicles. Nice. It will be great to see "Dog the Bounty Hunter" load perps up in a hybrid SUV.

Starting this month, state and county agencies buying new vehicles are required to give priority to electric vehicles, alternative-fuel vehicles and hybrids. And by the end of next year, government and private parking lots open to the public must have at least one space for electric vehicles and a vehicle charger for every 100 parking spaces.

To offset the costs of electric cars and special parking, the state plans to spend $4.25 million in federal stimulus money by an April 2012 deadline on chargers and grants.

Vehicles that run on electricity rather than gasoline emit less pollution and are expected to be cheaper per mile to operate. They’re under development by every major car maker, and certain models are scheduled to be available in limited quantities on the Mainland by year’s end.

However, it’s unclear when the vehicles will be available to Hawai’i residents, and how quickly they will adopt the cars, which need to be regulary charged with electricity. There are also questions about the durability, reliability and serviceability of this new breed of vehicles.