The push to bring electric vehicles to Hawai'i's roadways has been somewhat of a "chicken or the egg" conundrum. Before electric vehicles were readily available to the public, entrepreneurs considered installing a charging network to service electric vehicles, but the charging network was a hard sell without electric vehicles on the road to utilize them. Fortunately, Nissan came to the table with a mass-produced electric vehicle: the egg is about to hatch.
Nissan has selected Hawai'i to be one of its initial launch markets in the U.S. for the highly anticipated Nissan LEAF, beginning in early 2011. The LEAF is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack instead of an internal combustion engine. "Through its work in fostering zero-emissions mobility throughout the state, Hawai'i is demonstrating that it is EV-ready," said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Nissan North America. "These efforts, along with strong consumer interest, led us to name Hawai'i as an early launch market for the Nissan LEAF."
The introduction of a highway-rated, mass-produced electric vehicle is a crucial piece of the puzzle leading up to the Hawai'i Clean Energy Initiative's goal of moving towards 70 percent clean energy by 2030. And with a 100-mile range on a full charge and no tailpipe emissions, the benefits are staggering. For example, at $3.50 per gallon of gasoline, a car that gets 25 miles per gallon has a fuel cost of 14 cents per mile. At 23 cents per kilowatt-hour electricity rate, the Nissan LEAF has a fuel cost of 5 cents per mile, without using a drop of gasoline.
The LEAF has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $32,780 and is fully eligible for a federal tax credit of $7,500. The state of Hawai'i is offering its own rebate of up to $4,500 for the purchase of a full-speed, commercially available electric vehicle, and up to $500 for electric vehicle chargers. The lease price for the Nissan LEAF begins at $349 per month. If you're interested in being the recipient of one of the first LEAFs that roll off the dock in Honolulu, you must register online for this high-demand vehicle.