Free Kauai EV Ride & Drive, Saturday

This story appeared in the Garden Island on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

PUHI — Sonja Kass has been driving an electric vehicle since 2014.

“I have a solar array at home that charges the car,” Kass said. “I can drive and get it charged by the sun — no gas.”

Kass was among the group of electric vehicle enthusiasts who invites people to come and ride and drive an electric vehicle for free Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kauai Community College’s Kauai Community Market site.

This is the fourth Kauai EV Ride &Drive program. The opportunity offers people interested in cars and vehicles not dependent on fossil fuels a chance to experience driving in autos which primarily derive their power from electricity.

“There are more and more electric vehicles on the market,” said Ben Sullivan, energy and sustainability coordinator for the County of Kauai, who stopped off to chat with Kass and other members manning the EV tent at the Saturday market. “The Kia came out with several models, including a hybrid model, and an all-electric model which offers a more economical way of getting into electric vehicles.”

He said the Kia models will probably be on hand, joining other vehicles, including the Nissan Leaf.

During last year’s event, KCC also had its electric and hybrid automotive team available to answer questions as well as show off the technology involved with hybrid and electric vehicles.

“You can go a ways with the electric cars,” Kass said. “Once you exhaust the charge, a gas engine kicks in on some models. However, most places have chargers where electric car owners can plug in and re-energize. By law, businesses having more than a certain number of parking stalls need to provide a charger based on the number of parking spaces.”

These vary around the island, and users have use either free, or by charge, depending on the chargers’ host.

The gathering also affords people an opportunity to ask which EV to get as well as an opportunity to chat and connect with other EV drivers on Kauai.