The trend towards electric vehicles (EVs) is a national phenomenon that shows a growing awareness of the environmental challenges the world faces. Some states, more than others, are embracing them as a more sustainable mode of transport. Electric vehicle sales in Hawaii were up 30.6% in August 2021, with 16,216 EVs active in the state. This made Hawaii the state with the second-highest EV registration rate in the country at the time, coming right after California. For the most part, this increase is motivated by locals wishing to better preserve the environment that they live in.
As a tourist visiting the area, this may make you environmentally conscious—or inspired—to travel sustainably during your stay in The Aloha State. Fortunately, you can limit your environmental impact by following the national trend and renting an EV.
Below are some tips to get you started.
Rent an EV at the airport
Credit: Larry D. Moore licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Right after you land in Hawaii, you can immediately start your sustainable travel journey by renting a car at the airport. Doing so means you won’t have to travel to a car rental company outside, cutting potential transportation emissions. Renting your EV at the airport also means that it will be the vehicle’s return point. Again, you’ll avoid unnecessary emissions when renting somewhere else, since you’ll go to the airport anyway.
You won’t have to worry about not finding the car you want: there are many car rentals at Maui Airport at the CONRAC Facility. To get there, take the airport-provided tram. Upon arriving, you’ll have many rental companies to choose from, including Alamo, Dollar, and Payless—all of which offer EVs. You’ll just need to present your documents, like your driving license or International Driving Permit, and pay the rates.
Use solar-powered charging stations
Even though EVs don’t use fossil fuels, the electricity that powers them does. Charging stations often get their electricity from the power grid sourced from oil or fossil fuels. Consider charging your vehicle at solar-powered charging stations to make your Hawaii trip more sustainable. These convert solar energy into electricity, making it a more environmentally-friendly option.
Luckily, Hawaii is starting to install more of these stations. The charging station at Hawaii Community College is the first portable solar-powered station on the island, opened in April 2022. You can find another solar-powered station on Cooke Street, near the Ward Entertainment Center in Honolulu.
Activate cruise control
Cruise control is a feature that automatically controls the speed of your vehicle. This is often found in gas-powered cars, but EVs have them, too. Its purpose is to allow the vehicle to drive at a constant speed, enabling you to take your foot off the pedal. This helps save the EVs battery since you’re not stepping on the accelerator. You won’t have to charge as often, helping reduce your carbon footprint—especially if you don’t have access to a solar-powered charging station.
Our article on “15 Sustainable Travel Tips When You Can’t Stay Home” emphasizes how you should drive greener, which you can achieve by activating cruise control. When driving down an open road, turn on this feature to enjoy a convenient—and sustainable—drive. Don’t use this during heavy traffic, as the vehicle won’t maintain a constant speed.
Turn off the car’s air conditioning
In Hawaii’s warm climate, turning on your EV’s air conditioning is a godsend. Unfortunately, this major factor drains the vehicle’s battery, resulting in more frequent charging.
When the weather or heat is bearable, roll down your windows and enjoy the fresh Hawaiian air instead. This way, you’ll refrain from charging the vehicle, consume more electricity than needed, and feel the fresh wind on your face wherever you go.
Traveling sustainably makes your trip enjoyable and guilt-free, as you’re helping preserve the environment. Remember our tips above for your next trip to The Aloha State!