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By Samuel R. Avro on Dec 3, 2008 with no responses

Hawaii to Build Electric Car System

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The Better Place Rogue is an all-electric version of the Nissan Rogue SUV.

The Better Place Rogue is an all-electric version of the Nissan Rogue SUV.

The State of Hawaii and the Hawaiian Electric Company endorsed a plan that would build an alternative transportation network, The plan would be centered around the use of electric cars utilizing swappable batteries and a network of recharging stations.

The plan unveiled would create an electric-car network of 70,000 to 100,000 recharging points on the islands by 2012. Hawaii is nearly completely dependant on oil for its energy needs.

The state has partnered with Palo Alto, California based company Better Place which is pursuing similar deals in Australia, Denmark, Israel and the San Francisco area. The company was launched in 2007 by former Silicon Valley software executive Shai Agassi in an effort to overcome the chief hurdle in the viability of electric cars.

“We always knew Hawaii would be the perfect model,” he said in a telephone interview. “The typical driving plan is low and leisurely, and people are smiling.”

Drivers on the islands rarely make trips of more than 100 miles, making it ideal for an easy implementation of the proposed plan. Part of Mr. Agassi’s model depends on quick-change service stations to swap batteries for drivers who need to use their cars before they have completely recharged their batteries.

“This is the preferred future,” Gov. Linda Lingle said at a press conference. “Today is a part of the execution of our energy independence, and our getting off the addiction to oil.”

Better Place plans on purchasing renewable energy such as wind power from the Hawaiian Electric Company to power their service stations.