Groundbreaking Initiative Puts Orlando Visitors Behind the Wheel of Electric Cars
Photo Credit: AP
Traveling is the perfect opportunity to do something you've never done before, something you may not normally do at home. You may start small with a new food or a new cultural tradition. Or you can jump into something a little more electrifying in Orlando.
Now you can try out a new kind of ride for about $30 a day - one of a new fleet of fully electric cars now available to rent in Orlando. Oh, and did we mention not having to pay for gas during your visit? Yeah, we thought that might grab you.
Under a new program announced last week called Drive Electric Orlando, anyone who rents one of 15 Nissan Leaf cars from Enterprise Rent-A-Car will be able to charge the car for free at one of over 300 charging stations at over 150 locations around the greater Orlando area.
"Orlando's visitors now have an opportunity to try out an exciting technology while saving time, saving money and making a difference," said Robbie Diamond, president and CEO of the Electrification Coalition, which is leading the Drive Electric Orlando effort.
Many charging stations are conveniently located for Orlando visitors at participating hotels, near the theme parks, at the Orange County Convention Center and even downtown outside City Hall.
Select hotels are even offering free charging and valet services during an overnight stay. This way both you and your car's battery are fully recharged in the morning.
The cars have a range of about 80 to 100 miles (about 130 to 160 kilometers) on a full charge. All of the details, including how to plug the car into a charging station, are fully explained to the renter at the Enterprise location at the Orlando International Airport.
If the car runs low on power while driving around town, its dashboard screen displays the nearest charging stations. If the vehicle's battery dies entirely, then AAA will come to charge the car for free, according to Lisa Martini, a spokeswoman for Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
"We want people to be comfortable with the technology," she said.
The electric vehicles cost the same as Enterprise's standard, midlevel rental car. And there's no need to scramble top off the gas tank before returning the car to the airport. Now doesn't that sound like a nice vacation?