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Orlando offers electric rental car program

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Visitors to Orlando often try new things while on vacation: thrilling roller coasters, luxury hotels, different cuisines.

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Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says allowing the city's visitors to drive an electric rental car will accelerate public acceptance of the technology. Drive Electric Orlando is a first-of-its-kind electric rental car initiative coordinated with Enterprise Rent-A-Car.  JOHN RAOUX/ASSOCIATED PRESS
JOHN RAOUX/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says allowing the city's visitors to drive an electric rental car will accelerate public acceptance of the technology. Drive Electric Orlando is a first-of-its-kind electric rental car initiative coordinated with Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Now they can try out a fully electric car – and not have to pay for gas during their vacation.

Under a new program announced Thursday 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. About 300 charging stations are located in the greater Orlando area.

“This is a first of its kind. This is groundbreaking,” said Robbie Diamond, the president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Electrification Coalition, a group that worked with Enterprise, hotels, corporations and local officials to organize the program.

The group, whose aim is to get more people behind the wheel of electric cars, is made up of business executives, including some from Nissan – which means they have an interest in marketing the rental cars in hopes of courting future buyers.

Here’s how it works: Once a driver rents the Leaf (at a cost of about $30 a day, or less) at the Enterprise counter at the Orlando Inter­national Airport, they can stop at any of the kiosks in the area when the car has a low charge.

More than 25 hotels, in­cluding The Peabody Or­lando and Renaissance Or­lando, have charging stations, and valets will charge the cars overnight. Renting a car and driving it while on vacation or on a business trip is a “try before you buy” scenario, said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who took reporters on a ride around downtown Orlando in a Leaf.

He pointed out the charging station in front of City Hall, at the Amway Center – where many concerts and sporting events are held – and at other county-owned locations, all within a 2-mile radius of downtown. “It gives them an option to try out an electric car and see how easy it is to use and get rid of that range anxiety,” he said.


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