Why did GEO decide to build the charging stations at this time?

Secretly, I’ve always wanted to be a pioneer. Everyone was waiting for someone else to jump in first, but since there are so few EVs out there it didn’t make economic sense. Car manufacturers used to complain that they couldn’t build EVs until the infrastructure was in place. Otherwise, you would have people “running out of gas” on their way home to Hawaii Kai on the freeway. Then what do you do? Call a tow truck in the rain? You simply have to have public charging stations.

We know, and expect, that the bulk of EV charging will take place in your garage or condo. We suspect that most of our customers will be coming in for a quick 20 to 40 minute charge to “top off” before going home. While they are charging we provide an outdoor cafe’ setting for them to have a healthy snack or drink. We also provide free Wi-Fi access so they can answer email or surf the net while they wait for the traffic to die down. They can also browse our store for the latest in innovative Green Building and Energy products. One can only hope.

How much do I save in gas costs if I convert to an all electric vehicle?

At current Oahu gasoline and electricity prices $250 worth of gasoline used in a 25 mpg conventional car would cost a consumer about $13.50 in electricity. And EVs require almost no maintenance or repair. No oil or filter changes, no tune-ups, no smog checks, you don’t have to pay parking meters!

Americans drive an average of 40 miles per day, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Most new batteries in EVs have a range of at least double that and can be charged at any ordinary electrical outlet (120V) or publicly accessible station with a faster charger.

If you plan carefully you won’t need to use our Station. But as long as people are human they will make mistakes–or make extra unplanned stops in town—and they will be glad that we are here in Central Honolulu to charge them up.

How fast could you establish other charging stations?

I don’t expect to a big player in the future build out of EV Stations. Shopping malls will soon get wise to the fact that their customers want to charge up while they’re shopping—AND that they’ll take their time and buy more things while doing so. I’m surprised they haven’t acted on this yet—while the tax incentives are so generous.

The Hawaii state government is predicting up to 100,000 by 2015 (Honolulu Star-Bulletin 8/12/09).

With 50% federal tax credits in place for 2010– and the state mandate for EV charging to be in all parking lots over 100 spaces by the end of 2011–many other businesses will soon realize that the time to install EV charging is here.

What is the biggest misconception about EVs that is keeping people out of the vehicles?

If you want to get really, really excited about the new EVs coming out soon go to this website: www.pluginamerica.org/vehicles It will blow you away. The cars and trucks being released are unbelievable.

As far as cars that are available now at a realistic price, I think that the “Current” from EMC is a great little 4 passenger car that goes up to 75 mph and gets 65 miles between charges. We will have a demo model at our Grand Opening for people to inspect and buy.

Do you expect most of your customers to be driving full sized electric cars, hybrids or smaller EVs?

We welcome them all. We expect to get a lot of smaller EVs in the beginning, such as E-Mopeds, Segways, Scooters, Electric bikes (that can also be manually pedaled), and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs).

Honestly, the industry is so new it’s hard to say when full sized EVs will overtake hybrids in sales. I love hybrids, but I think it’s rather obvious that they are only a transitional technology in going to full electric vehicles. Let’s hope so, it will be kinder to the planet.

What is GEO and it’s primary business?

We primarily sell Green Building and Energy products. We also try to surprise you with something unusual when we discover it at a Green expo.

Green Energy Outlet (GEO) is a trade name of the parent company Diversified Products LLC, which has been selling environmentally friendly products—such as Hawaiian SunGuard and White Lava reflective roof coatings, as well as PhotoVoltaic attic vents, since May 2004.

Who is Frank Rogers?

I am the President of Green Energy Outlet (GEO). I am also the President of Leakmaster Roofing and Waterproofing. I have been a licensed contractor in the State of Hawaii since 1979. After 30 years in Kailua , I have decided to open a larger, flagship office in Central Honolulu, in the midst of this recession, while still keeping our smaller Kailua location as a convenient pickup point for our loyal Windward customers.

By the way, let me make this clear, I am not an expert in the field of solar or wind power. Far from it. My expertise is in installing highly reflective Cool Roof, Wall and Deck coatings to make buildings both waterproof and comfortable to live in. We then started selling PhotoVoltaic (PV) attic vents as well as installing the roofs underneath both PV and Solar projects. That’s how we got our start in the Green business.

The real experts in this field are the old timers in the solar industry. That’s why I partner with them. I am but a “curious amateur” who enjoys learning the latest technology from them. I rely on their expertise when trying to decide what products to sell. I’m always the most confident when I’m on the right side of evolution.

How many Electric Vehicles (EVs) are on Oahu ?

According to the Hawaii state energy administrator’s office there are approximately 110 electric vehicles registered state-wide. But there are many more smaller NEVs, electric mopeds, Segways, etc. that can use our service now.

What is the general history of EV charging stations in Hawaii ?

The real pioneers were HCATT and Enova in the ‘90s. They installed a number of stations around the island that were used for govt. and private fleets, such as HECO. While they hoped one day to have the public use them– that never happened. HCATT continues to work on future transportation initiatives such as hydrogen fuel cells.

What is a charging station like? How do you come in and plug in your car?

The ability to individually control each charging station in real time allows the ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations to be open to all drivers of plug-in vehicles. Drivers have the option of paying for a single charging session by placing a toll free call to the 24/7 number on each Charging Station. Or, they can become a ChargePoint Network subscriber by going to www.mychargepoint.net and choosing a monthly subscription plan that fits their lifestyle.

Other future payment options include using any smart (RFID) credit/debit card to authorize a session or using a standard credit or debit card at a remote payment station (RPS) to pay for charging sessions. The ChargePoint Network has been designed with an open, standards-based architecture. Drivers who are members of other charging systems will be able to use their authorization smart cards at any ChargePoint networked charging station just like they can roam between cell phone networks.

How many EVs do you see coming into the market in the next 1-5 years?

The Hawaii state government predicts 50,400 by 2015 (Honolulu Star-Bulletin 8/12/09)

Why do you think this charging station will be successful when others have not? How committed is GEO for the long haul?

I have been in business for 30 years in Hawaii . I always think long term. Always.

I don’t want to be the biggest, I just want an excuse in this second half of my life to become a Green “gadget geek.”

Do you provide road service?

Not now, but that is a great idea for the future. Thank you.

How many employees work for GEO?

Currently, 3 full time and just a few part time. We haven’t even officially opened yet. In fact, this Saturday is only the Grand Opening of the Charging Station. While the GEO Store is open for business now, we won’t have our Grand Opening until sometime in the near future. Stay tuned. I want to make a buying trip on the Mainland first.

Has the time finally arrived for electric vehicles to take hold as a necessity rather than be seen as a novelty?

If the state of Hawaii is to achieve Gov. Lingle’s goal of 70% renewable energy by 2030 electric cars must become a large part of our transportation landscape. Cars and trucks use about a third of the petroleum we import and they are the easiest and fastest way to get to renewability. Power generation and aviation fuel will be much more challenging than converting to electric cars.

Do you believe living on an island that we have a greater responsibility to use products for environmental conservancy and sustainability?

Not really. Everyone in the world will ultimately breathe the same air and drink the same water. We should all be considerate of each other no matter where we live.

Should Segways be able to share sidewalks and bike paths?

I recently rode the Segway for a 3 ½ hour tour around Downtown, including the narrow sidewalks of Chinatown . I was amazed at the precise control of the machine. The gyroscopes in them keep them perfectly balanced. You can literally stop and turn of a dime with them. I, personally, see no reason why they should be taken off our sidewalks or bike paths. Many people will use them instead of cars to reduce their carbon footprint.

But that’s just my personal opinion. These type of questions should be discussed with the public and our politicians in a public forum. Our GEO Learning Center hopes to sponsor exactly this sort of debate in the near future. We offer use of our Center for free to Green and Non Profit groups during our regular business hours. Just call us at 591-1900 to set up a time.

Thanks for listening. I have been accused before of being long winded—and that was by Joe Biden!

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