Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO) and the state energy office have announced today that regulatory approval has been achieved for differential rates on EV charging stations. In other words, EV owners can charge at EV charging stations without worrying about what rate they’re paying for the electric, or about peak demand charge hours.
The rates are an attempt to encourage EV ownership in Hawaii, a place where range anxiety is limited by geographic barriers (that’s the techy term for “an ocean on all sides”).
In addition to benefits for the consumer, the new Commercial Public Electric Vehicle Charging Facility Service rate (Schedule EV-F) will provide financial incentive for business customers to open new public charging facilities, which can be metered separately from other uses. According to the press release,
This new rate will encourage businesses to provide direct current (DC) fast charging, which delivers a quicker charge but at a higher demand. A DC fast charging station can bring an “empty” EV battery to an 80 percent charge in about 30 minutes. (Demand charge represents the electric utility’s cost to maintain the capacity to meet a commercial customer’s highest demand for a fixed period.)
Also announced as part of the new set of tariffs is a second rate that will allow HECO to provide up to 25 publicly accessible DC fast charging stations in their service areas (Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island: Kauai has its own cooperatively owned utility, KIUC). It will allow HECO to offer drivers a “per session” charge fee, and will enable HECO to do more extensive research and data gathering on load control and demand response.
At the moment, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), there are just under 1500 electric vehicles in the HECO service area (not counting the new fleet of electric motorcycles the police have on the islands). The state is hoping to dramatically increase EV ownership on the islands, which will allow Hawaii to break its energy dependence on foreign oil, since EVs can be charged with domestically produced energy from wind and solar, which the state is working to increase as well.