Kukui Grove Center unveils electronic charging stations

LIHU‘E — Mark Carey could literally have lunch while his Chevrolet Volt received a charge of electricity Wednesday at  Kukui Grove Center.

Unfortunately, Carey was the center of attention with his Volt as the mall’s management unveiled its first electronic charging station, one of two located in the shopping center, allowing Carey to charge his vehicle following a trip to town from Kilauea.

Michael Buono, operations manager for Kukui Grove, said the process took about 20 months with a lot of discussion before the mall settled on the Type II commercial-grade charger.

“There are two locations where the chargers are located,” Buono said.

“One is in the sidewalk parking area near Starbucks and the other is near the Payless Shoe store where Borders Books and Music was located.”

Initially, the charging station will be operational and available for island residents and visitors during mall hours at no cost. There will be a minimal fee charged following the introductory period.

Shoppers visiting the mall need to check in with the mall’s management office near Kim Chee 9, because a security card is needed to activate the charger.

Buono said in addition to being in compliance with Hawai‘i statutes, as more and more residents and visitors get into electric vehicles, the chargers become an additional service provided by the shopping center.

He said Kukui Grove is currently in discussions with the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative about the possibility of installing Type III chargers and where the locations of those chargers could be.

The differences between the chargers is the Type II chargers  charge faster than the ones found in homes, and the Type III can charge a battery in 30 minutes.

Carey said the Volt he purchased in November has 7,300 miles on it and to date, he’s only used 16 gallons of gasoline.

Simply stated, Carey said the vehicle operates on electricity and if the batteries run out, there is a motor which uses gasoline to generate electricity to power the batteries.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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