Better Place, the electric car technology company headquartered in Palo Alto California, and headed by Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi is now preparing to establish its first commercial battery recharging network in the American state of Hawaii. The news, as reported in the online edition of the Pacific Business news site reported that five recharging posts will be installed in the parking garage of Honolulu’s Sharaton Waikiki Hotel. The plan to establish the Batter Place network in Hawaii will include other charging stations at Hawaiian Electric Co. facilities and at the Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies in Honolulu.
Better Place battery switch station
Better Place’s entry into the American market, albeit in the state of Hawaii follows assistance given to the company by funds awarded to it by the Hawaiian Department of Energy (HDE) which is supported through the US Department of Energy.
The HDE awarded $2.6 million in stimulus funding to six companies to install and promote charging stations across the state, $854,000 of which was awarded to Better Place. The HDE hopes to have at least 260 charging stations installed in Hawaii by the end of the year.
The decision to go into the island State of Hawaii is a good test case for a state that is totally dependent on imported oil for its cars and other vehicles that nearly match the state’s total population of 1.3 million. It also relies heavily on biomass to make fuel, and is the second highest biomass using state after California.
Better Place has already entered Europe by establishing its battery charging and exchange network in Denmark, a country that levies very taxes on cars running on fossil fuels.
Hawaii is considered as a perfect location for establishing an electric car network, and due to its lucrative tourism industry, electric cars could be a good solution for the state’s rental car business enterprises, in cooperation with major hotel chains like the Sheraton. Other electric car companies, including Renault-Nissan are also interested in the island state.
Over 140 Nissan Leaf electric cars are already on order for the Hawaiian market.
Says Better Place’s Managing Director Brian Goldstein: “It’s sort of like cell phones. You can’t buy the cell phones until the cell towers are up. You want to put charging stations in place before the cars come.”
Better Place also opened its first batter exchange station in Israel recently; although the network for these cars has still not been established there yet. The company, which has its origins in Israel, hopes to have a battery charging and exchange network established there as well in the near future.
Read more on Better Place electric car network:
Photo: Travel to Hawaii Reviewed