Frequently Asked Questions
Since 2010, Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Electric Light, and Maui Electric have offered discount EV charging rates to encourage customers to use EVs, especially in ways that best support our grids. EV owners paid a lower rate for charging vehicles at home during off-peak hours (9 p.m. to 7 a.m.) when enrolled on these rates. They are currently close to new enrollment.
On October 2016, the Hawaiian Electric Companies, with guidance from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, began to provide a new rate, TOU-RI. This rate provides a lower rate for electricity used during daytime when solar and other renewable energy are abundant from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The rate is available to all residential customers and to residential customers wishing to install a second, separate service for EV charging only.
The Hawaiian Electric Companies are installing DC fast charging stations for public use on Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island to help make sure electric vehicle drivers are never caught without a place to charge. DC fast charging can “fill” an EV battery up to 80 percent of its capacity in about 30 minutes. These charging stations also provide alternatives for drivers’ whose charging needs cannot be met at home. The Hawaiian Electric Companies are also providing an industry-leading commercial pilot rate which supports public EV charging.
Additionally, the Hawaiian Electric Companies continue to research new technologies and services which may benefit EV drivers and stakeholders, as well as all our customers.
The special rates are designed to:
- Encourage adoption of EVs and charging in ways which help with grid stability;
- Make it easier for our customers to be part of the clean energy movement ; and
- Support the State of Hawaii's goal to reduce use of oil for ground transportation as well as electricity generation.
EVs offer many advantages. Federal tax credits up to $7,500; less money spent on your total household energy budget; and lower maintenance make them cheaper to own or lease. The cost per mile to drive a typical EV is lower than driving a typical gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle. EVs are quick and fun to drive. They provide environmental benefits such as reduced emissions and noise. EVs can park for free in state and municipal lots and at metered parking stalls. EVs can also use high occupancy vehicle lanes with just the driver on board.
Currently, up to $7,500 in federal tax credit is allowed for the purchase of a qualifying EV. Vehicles with an electric vehicle license plate have certain exemptions for state and county parking as well as HOV lanes. For more details on federal & state incentives, please visit the U.S. Department of Energy web site at www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/law or call (877) 337-3463 or visit the Energy Division of the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism web site. Consult your personal financial advisor or tax preparer if you have questions.
Please check the manufacturer's website or contact the local dealer for details about the EV you are interested in for vehicle pricing, batteries, charging specifications, safety, special programs, and other details. There are also links to EV manufacturers in our "Resources" page.
If you are thinking of purchasing an EV, start by understanding the difference between a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle. Each has advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to find the one that fits your lifestyle. Things to consider are the distance of your commute and how you will charge the vehicle.
Several charging options are available. In some cases, a simple 120-volt plug-and-cord set using a standard outlet may be all you require. In other cases, you may want to purchase a faster Level 2 charger. Your EV dealer or manufacturer can help you make this decision. If you chose to install a Level 2 charging station, consult a licensed electrical contractor. As with all electrical upgrades, your county building department must approve plans and sign off when the installation is complete. More information on these topics is on our "Vehicle and Charging Basics" page.
The WattPlan for Electric Vehicles may help you better compare different electric vehicles with a conventional gas car.
For residential service, the Hawaiian Electric Companies can only provide necessary service on the utility side of the meter. Please consult a licensed electrician for additional electrical work.
Under a pilot project, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have installed public DC fast charging stations at sites which may best assist EV drivers and the commercial site. Interested commercial customers should contact the GoEV program at 808-969-6999 (GoEV) or GoEV@hawaiielectriclight.com.
Any business can provide charging to customers or employees for a fee or as a service. If your business wishes to do so, please consult a licensed electrical contractor.
With TOU rates, you pay less per kilowatt-hour during times which best serve the grid and more when electricity demand is higher. This is to incentivize customers to shift their EV charging to times when electric demand is low, when there is excess electricity generation available, which helps us operate more efficiently, which may enable the integration of more renewables, and keep your costs down.
Rate Schedule TOU-RI replaces your existing meter with a TOU electric meter to measure your home electricity use and EV charging at different times of day. Alternatively, customers owning EVs may install a second metered service at their place of residence for EV charging only under Schedule TOU-RI. The lower Mid-Day rates are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rates are higher during other times of day to provide an incentive to charge during the Mid-Day and shift typical energy usage to the Mid-Day.
Residential customers who feel they may benefit from TOU rates should visit our Time-of-Use enrollment page for additional information on how to sign up.