KIHEI - Maui residents will have a chance Friday outside Foodland on South Kihei Road to take a test ride in an electric car, like a Chevy Volt or Nissan LEAF, and learn how to use the new electric charging station there.
Better Place of Hawaii is hosting the "Drive Electric Maui" event from 3 to 5 p.m.
The company recently installed seven charging stations across the Valley Isle, including outside the grocery store, as part of a targeted statewide effort to create a network of chargers for the growing electric car industry, especially in oil-dependent Hawaii, Better Place and its partners said in a news release.
To take a ride, residents will need to fill out an informational form, said Anne Ku, director of Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance. People are welcome to just watch the charger demonstrations or look under the cars' hoods and "kick the tires," she said.
In addition, electric car owners can sign up for a Better Place membership, which entitles them to charge their cars for free at any of the new sites through 2012.
In the next 18 months, at least 15 new electric car or electric-gasoline hybrids will be rolled out, said Better Place's Brian Goldstein, who is director of the international corporation's Hawaii division.
A hybrid vehicle is one in which an electric engine has a gas-powered generator to maximize mileage.