Hawaii is already known as a lush, green, tropical paradise, but one rental car company on the islands is turning that green up a notch.
President Shaun Stenshol presides over a 20-car fleet that includes diesel-powered Beetles, Jettas, Golfs and a Jeep Liberty, plus some Toyota Prius hybrids, in the bustling central city of Kahului. The office, which doubles as a cat shelter and the headquarters of the recycling business Stenshol also runs, was busy on a recent weekday – 18 of Bio Beetle’s cars were rented.
This is a business that caters to the tourists flocking to Maui, and Bio Beetle offers rates ($49.99 to $75 a day) that are on par with more established services. It also offers free pickups and drop-offs at the airport and popular tourist destinations. The company advertises 30 to 45 mpg from the 100 percent biodiesel it sources locally from Pacific Biodiesel. The “buy local” and “freedom from oil” pitches are a big part of Bio Beetle’s appeal.
Stenshol, who relocated to Maui in 1998 and started his company in 2003 with a single diesel Beetle he found on a used car lot, has applied for a State of Hawaii grant to help him buy electric cars and set up charging stations. EVs, he says, will nicely complement his biodiesel cars, though he worries about the 100-mile range being a challenge.
The article goes on to say that Hawaii has tapped into $4 million in federal stimulus money for people in the state who buy electric vehicles or chargers after August 1st. There’s word that Korean automaker CT&T wants to build a plant on the islands to assemble as many as 10,000 electric vehicles a year.