Want to see the future of the automotive industry? Take a look at this photo. The future has already arrived in Maui.

Four electric car spots, all taken by four Leaf’s. Ours is the blue one, of course. I took the picture this afternoon (Dec 23) in the parking lot of the Kaahumanu Mall in Kahului, Maui.

Sounds great doesn’t it? Solar energy. Clear air. Clean lungs…

It is great indeed as far it goes. But there is a story behind the story, too…

After parking the car, I plugged in the charger into my Leaf.  I did not really need to charge it. But I wanted to see how the process works. That’s when I noticed that these four charging units were Hitachi-made. The instructions on the screen said to go to the “kiosk” in the mall, presumably to activate it. Like paying for gasoline inside a station, I suppose?

“Hm… so it’s not free,” I muttered.

I asked the lady at the information booth inside the mall where that “kiosk” was.

“Oh, that’s actually a storefront,” she said. “Just look for JumpStart.”

I did. Spacious office space.  Nice. Two big windows, each about 15 ft wide. A TV screen running a program that outlined the advantages of electric cars. But when I tried to open the door, it was locked!?

I went back to the information booth. “So these are just placebos,” I said to the same lady.

“I beg your pardon?”

“The Jumpstart door was locked,” I explained. “Which means I cannot charge my car. So the parking spots and the chargers are just placebos? Make believe?”

“Oh, I wouldn’t know anything about that,” the lady said, sounding a bit flustered.

I did not mean to make her feel bad. So I smiled broadly and said, “that’s okay. No problem. I know you have nothing to do with the Jumpstart company.”

But it seems they are the ones who are in need of a jumpstart.

And then I remembered. When Elizabeth and I drove by that part of the parking lot back in June, there was a crew of Japanese-looking men working on installing these chargers.

“When are they going to be ready?” I asked.

“The end of July,” one of the men replied.

Here we are, at the end of December, still waiting for a Jumpstart. But the chargers and the office space sure look pretty. And so do the nicely painted parking spots.  Green! 🙂

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