Jumpstart Maui changing one habit

Arakawa is the Mayor of the County of Maui, State of Hawaii. He is Mayor of Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kaho’olawe. He has my vote for President. Arakawa understands that getting off the dependence of foreign oil is a National Security and economic boom.

The County of Maui spends $4-6 Billion a year on petroleum. Jumpstart Maui is a program to create regional alternative energy that will keep the money spent on importing petroleum into the community for better health and wealth in the community. Arakawa is excited, “this will be the largest economic shift by changing one habit.”

Arakawa understands that gasoline is a variable cost, the price decided upon by geopolitical means. Electricity is a fixed cost. In Hawaii, electricity is very high. Jumpstart Maui is a collaboration of companies, including Nissan and Hitachi. Six hundred Nissan Leafs are in Maui. Charging units are being put up all over the island. There is a growing network of EV charging stations being deployed by Hitachi’s JumpSmart Maui initiative.

Haleakala Solar is part of the collaboration. They are putting solar panels on homes and offices. The Mayor’s home electricity bill used to be around $400 a month, their gas bill was $about 300 a month. Using solar panels to electrify their home and their silver Nissan Leaf their bill for both is $20 a month. That averages $500-700 a month in disposable income that used to go for energy.

The adjustments are not going to happen overnight. The key is to put up enough charging stations in hotel and business areas to make Nissan Leaf electric vehicles the rental car of choice. Along with solar panels on homes, and charging units around the Island there are over six hundred Nissan Leafs to complete the circle.

Arakawa said that the economic recovery and disposable income would more than offset whatever the government puts in initially. A quick google search showed that there were over forty charging stations, mainly in hotels or shopping centers. Offering electric vehicles for rent to tourists with a sufficient driving range and free electricity is not only trendy,but allows the tourist to spend more money in those shopping centers and hotels.

Hawaii has lots of alternative energy at its disposal; the big island creates 50% of its power primarily from geothermal. Initially, there was a lot of speculation of environmental damage, but Arakawa said there has been no negative impact.

The County of Maui hasn’t stopped at one alternative energy; there is an abundance of alternative energies including volcanic heat which the Mayor says will expand. Energy is created by motion – they can harness energy from the wind, and Hawaii has lots of wind.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.