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South Korean Automaker to Build Cars in Hawaii

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On: Wed, May 19, 2010 at 9:22AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

South Korean Automaker to Build Cars in Hawaii

Hawaii has been a hot topic in car news recently as CT & T, a South Korean automaker, begins to develop plans to build a new manufacturing plant on the island of Oahu in order to build up to 10,000 twin-seat electric vehicles per year. Hawaii has very good reason to exhibit an interest in electric vehicles as all of the gas the state consumes has to be imported which really drives the prices up, subsequently Hawaii’s gas prices are the highest in the U.S.

The two-seater electric vehicle will reach speeds of up to 40 mph to drive on city and neighborhood roads and streets on the Islands with a battery charge range of up to 30 or 60 miles, depending on the model. "The Islands portray themselves to be perfect for our types of vehicles," said Joe White, CEO for CT&T. "The speed limit here, 25 to 35, fits perfectly into our type of vehicle."

The facility will be complete within the next two years according to White, and CT&T is considering four locations for the plant to be built with a total cost of $35-$50 million just for the building, the total investment by the company is said to be as high as $200 million.

The agreement that would permit the State of Hawaii to help the company establish itself and implement the infrastructure of new charging stations was signed in May of 2010 between the Governor of Hawaii and the CEO of CT&T: Lee Young-gi.

"It's an innovative vision,” Governor Lingle said. "It combines ... a desire for a melding with the natural environment, to be a part of our vision of energy independence, to reduce pollution in the world and to help by employing hundreds of people here in our state."

Hawaii’s goal of being able to produce 40% of its power from renewable resources by 2030 fits into the promotion and sale of more electric vehicles in the State.

The new electric CT&T cars start at only $8,000 and go up to $20,000 depending on the model and accessories selected. There will be 12 different models including a hatchback, golf cart, mini pickup and police parking enforcement vehicle.

Nissan Motor Company also announced that Hawaii will be one of its major markets and one of the first as well, to launch sales of the all electric LEAF, which has already begun taking orders in specified states that are on board with implementing the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles.

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