Electric vehicles will begin to hit the roads later this year. Many automakers, including Nissan, Coda Automotive and several others, will introduce these battery-powered vehicles across the country. But as electric vehicles begin to roll out, many automakers will turn to the island state of Hawaii as a test bed for this new technology. Hawaii’s diminutive size and its focus on green technologies make it an ideal place to test out the range-limited, zero-emissions vehicles.
As AutoBlogGreen reports, Nissan has partnered with the state of Hawaii to promote the deployment of electric vehicles. The partnership will actively seek out ways to establish a working infrastructure for electric vehicles in Hawaii and will also research the usefulness and limitations of these battery-powered vehicles. Nissan’s partnership with Hawaii comes just months before the company is expected to launch its Leaf electric vehicle there. The Leaf should reach the Hawaiian islands in January 2011 and the state offers a lucrative $4,500 incentive for purchasing electric vehicles.
Nissan is not the only automaker interested in bringing electric vehicles to Hawaii. Coda Automotive, a company with its U.S. headquarters based in California, has also committed to selling its battery-powered Coda Sedan on the big island. As AutoBlogGreen reports, Coda will begin shipping its electric sedan to Hawaii in late 2011. The sedan will be available to fleets buyers and the public and will help Hawaii reach its 70 percent clean energy goal by 2030.
Other automakers have also displayed interest in Hawaii. As AutoBlogGreen reports, South Korean-based CT&T, a company known for its quirky little electric cars, has chosen the island state as its U.S. production site. CT&T will construct a $200 million assembly plant on one of the state’s island and hopes to produce up to 10,000 cars per years.
Why are automakers focusing on Hawaii? The answer is really quite simple. Hawaii’s small size makes it ideal for the range-limited electric vehicles. Many battery-powered vehicles have a per charge range of 100 miles or less, but Hawaii’s small size means that electric vehicles could still easily traverse without having to charge up. Hawaiians would not have to worry about securing a gas-powered vehicle with long range capabilities for long trips, because few trips within the state would push the limitations of electric vehicles. Back in mainland U.S., consumers are concerned about the range limitations of electric vehicles and rightfully so. But when you are situated on a small island surrounded by an ocean, long-range trips require an airplane and not a car.