All-electric Nissan Rogue that can be used in Hawaii  (Source: Better Place)
Hawaii continues to look for ways to go green

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has unveiled a plan for the island state to create an electric car network by 2012, helping rid the state of its heavy dependence on foreign oil.

Electric car company Better Place will be the company responsible for building the electric car network that will cost an estimated $200 million to $250 million in construction.  Better Place has not signed any investors for the project, but will intensify its search in the immediate future.

Better Place was founded by former SAP AG executive Shai Agassi, who is helping lead discussions regarding the same technology in Australia, Denmark, Israel and San Francisco.

Consumers who purchase or lease electric cars will be able to visit Better Place supply recharging service locations to switch out their lithium ion car battery for a full-charged new one.  Better Place will then recharge the new battery during off-peak electricity hours.

Hawaii imports oil for about 90 percent of its total energy needs, which totals around $7 billion per year.  Around one-third of all imported oil is used for cars and buses.  Gov. Lingle wants the state to cut around 70 percent of its fossil fuel use by 2030.

"This is the preferred future," Lingle said during a press conference. "Today is a part of the execution of our energy independence, and our getting off the addiction to oil."

Better Place will purchase wind power and other renewable energies from Hawaiian Electric Co., and other Hawaii-based companies.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company is working with Nissan, and plans to talk to Chrysler, GM and Ford.  Other car makers are expected to follow suit, as they will likely want to sell cars where Better Place is building recharging stations.

Better Place anticipates it will build 50,000 to 100,000 charge spots across Hawaii by 2011.  Mass market availability of electric cars should be available to the Hawaiian market in 2012.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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