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Like electric cars? Say ‘mahalo’ to Hawaii

A big “mahalo” (thank you) to Hawaii for becoming the second state in the U.S. to team up with Better Place to create a network for electric cars.

Under the plan, Hawaii will begin working to create an electric-car infrastructure within a year, and start introducing electric cars in the next 18 months. The state expects to have electric cars widely available on the mass market by 2012.

Located as it is some 3,200 kilometers from the U.S. mainland, Hawaii typically sees some of the highest petrol prices in the nation and spends $7 billion (U.S.) on oil imports each year. State officials have already embarked upon an effort to reduce dependence on fossil fuels with the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which aims to power the state with 70 percent clean energy by 2030. The new partnership with Better Place will help further that programme.

“Hawaii, with its ready access to renewable energy resources like solar, wind, wave and geothermal, is the ideal location to serve as a blueprint for the rest of the U.S. in terms of reducing our dependence on foreign oil, growing our renewable energy portfolio and creating an infrastructure that will stabilise our economy,” said Shai Agassi, founder and CEO of Better Place.

Under the plan, Hawaii Electric Companies will work with Better Place to create a network of public charging spots for electric cars, as well as battery swapping stations powered by renewable energy.

California last month became the first state to team up with Better Place to develop an electric car network. Better Place is also working on similar programmes with Australia, Denmark and Israel.

Could this be the start of a great “aloha” (as in “good-bye”) to fossil-fuel-driven transportation?

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