Transportation is our lifeline in Hawaii. Ships and planes bring us products and food, and cars get us to work and school. Transportation also gives us freedom—to get our board to the beach, visit relatives, and to explore new locations beyond these islands. But our current system of transportation comes at incredible cost to the environment and climate. Two-thirds of Hawaii’s climate-changing carbon emissions come from our transportation sector—and that number is unfortunately rising, not falling. On this episode of Empowered, we’re going on a journey to explore new solutions to reduce the climate impact of how we get around. And we’ll get a glimpse of new innovations that are steering us to a more sustainable future. 

We speak with Alaska Airlines to see how they’re pushing the aviation industry to a cleaner future. Zero Avia, in partnership with Alaska Airlines, is working on electrifying aviation by utilizing hydrogen as the fuel of the future, by replacing traditional fossil-burning combustion engines with electric motors powered by hydrogen cells. 


When you think of renewable transportation, you may not think about what’s going on in the water. Kohala Blue, based out of the Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor, is the state’s first fully renewable charter company featuring an all-electric off-the-grid catamaran. Owner Shaun Elise attributes the company’s shift to a fully electric catamaran after a catastrophic failure with their diesel engine. They could either continue their route with fossil fuels or create a new path going electric. With the health of the planet in mind, they decided to go green. 


Back on land, Jeff and Kelly visit Aloha Kia to see their flagship electric vehicle in action. Boasting sharp angles and over 500 horsepower, the EV6 GT was built from the ground up to offer the best experience for the rider. With electric vehicles on everyone’s lips, there’s no better time to kick gas and give electric driving a try. 

The way we move has shaped our world, but how we get around today has a significant impact on our climate. Fortunately, new technologies are helping us reduce our carbon footprint from our transportation sector.