Better Place, an EV services provider, has launched a project to deploy its EV charge network in Honolulu, in partnership with Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts’ Sheraton Waikiki Resort and Hawaiian Electric Company.

The project, expected to begin in early 2011, will start with few charge spots in Waikiki and around Oahu and include seven EVs with Better Place managing the charging of the vehicles via a network operations center located in Palo Alto, California.

Better Place will use the $500,000 funding, which it received from the US Department of Energy through Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture, to implement the $1.1m project.

Better Place will install the initial charging stations at partner Kyo-ya Hotel & Resorts’ Sheraton Waikiki Resort, which will use two of EVs deployed for the project as fleet vehicles and guest shuttles.

The other charging stations will be set up at three sites provided by Hawaiian Electric, which will also own the remaining five EVs to be used for the project, thereby advancing collaboration between the two companies to power public charging spots with renewable energy.

The project will also involve Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies, providing maintenance for facilities, and the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute as research partner conducting data acquisition, analysis, reporting on vehicle and recharge performance and grid and driver behavior.

Hawaiian Electric executive vice president Robbie Alm said that EVs will be an essential tool to reduce Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil and to integrate more renewable energy on electric grids in Hawaii.