Making EV easy

  • submitted photo

    Kauai EV drivers cruise through the round-about at Anaina Hou in Kilauea. These are some of the vehicles you’ll see at Kauai EV’s first EV Fest at Anaina Hou Sept. 21.

  • submitted photo

    Kauai EV is hosting their first EV Fest at Anaina Hou Sept. 21.

KILAUEA — Electric vehicles will be on parade at Anaina Hou in September for Kauai EV’s first EV Festival, alongside the Saturday farmers’ market in Kilauea.

The event is during National Drive Electric Week, which will see EV drivers gearing up to spread the word about sustainable transportation throughout the United States.

It’ll be held on Sept. 21, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be several styles of electric vehicles on site to check out at the event, and even some to test-drive. Interested people can learn about the reality of owning and electric vehicle, talk story with owners on-island and get a feel for the types of EVs available or sale on Kauai.

The EV Festival at Anaina Hou isn’t the only new thing debuting with Kauai EV in September. The organization is restructuring once again, and is developing a board of directors to unify the club.

Since 2015, Kauai EV has restarted multiple times, according to Sonja Kass, founding member of the club. Each iteration of the club has brought them closer to their vision, and now Kauai EV is getting some advice from the Hawaii Electric Auto Association on how to formulate a formal club.

“We were a very loose organization and nobody had a clear role and in a way that was good but also it led to a lot of drama,” Kass said. “This will make us much more effective.”

Currently, Kauai EV has about 50 members and they’re hoping to fill positions for five or six board members that will consolidate the input of the other members and provide a unified and clear message to the community about club activities.

Kass says they’ve informally decided on three of those positions already, as well as identifying a person to fill the roll of Event Organizer, but nothing’s yet set in stone.

“We’re all new at this, but we’re getting a lot of help from the Electric Auto Association Hawaii Chapter at the moment. They’re structured, organized and they’re helping us get in shape,” Kass said.

Anyone can be a board member for Kauai EV, it’s not a requirement to be an owner or driver of an electric vehicle. All that’s necessary is having a passion for electric vehicles and a desire to work together with other passionate people to promote sustainable transportation on Kauai.

As the board is developed and the club becomes more organized, Kass said the goal is to for the club to start reconnecting with entities like the County of Kauai and with charging station owners.

Discord between those groups and Kauai EV was a result of Kauai EV’s loose structure and the mixed messages sent by members and EV drivers on the island who have been frustrated about the lack of charging stations on Kauai.

That’s because even though EVs can be charged at home, not everyone has the ability to do that — most home renters, for instance, don’t have a consistent place to charge.

“For five years, we had the Ride and Drive events, talked people into buying EV’s and then said ‘oops, we don’t know where you’re going to charge’,” Kass said. “People grew frustrated.”

As they consolidate their message and bring people back to the table to talk about EVs and their potential, the goal of Kauai EV is still to promote sustainable travel and to create opportunity for EV drivers on Kauai.

That’s the main goal for the September 21 EV Festival, to learn why members are “convinced EVs are the personal transportation of the future”, Kass says.

In addition to the Kauai EV Anaina Hou event, head on over to Kauai Community College from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. to attend the Going Bananas over Electric Cars information event during the farmer’s market. Ruta Jordans will also be at Waimea at the West Kauai Technology and Visitor Center Sept 22 from 1 to 3 p.m. to provide information on owning and driving and electric vehicle.

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