The fallout of the Better Place bankruptcy is still being felt in Hawaii and leaving some plug-in vehicle drivers with far fewer charging opportunities than they originally suspected. According to an article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, OpConnect took over the Better Place charging infrastructure in Hawaii – made up of 77 charging stations there – after the Israeli company went out of business in May. If you had an account before the bankruptcy, then things have been fine for you and your electron-powered car. If, though, you signed up since after May – and OpConnect says between 100 and 200 people have done so – then a little piece of missing plastic is causing you big problems.
Turns out, OpConnect cannot get any more of the Better Place account fobs, the little devices that tell the charging station to turn on, even from the original supplier to Better Place. The solution? Expensive replacement of the Better Place charging stations with OpConnect-branded ones that don't need those special account fobs. An OpConnect representative told the Star-Bulletin this will start happening in the next few weeks.
It's not all bad news for Oahu-based EV drives, since there remains a network of free charging stations run by Volta, like the ones at Ala Moana Center (pictured). Sadly, this network is much smaller than the troubled Better Place one, roughly 15-20 by the looks of things. The Star-Bulletin says there are a total of 85 EV charging stations on Oahu.