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Orlando EV Advocates Aim for Tourist Market

September 6th, 2013 | WMFE- Orlando city officials and businesses are trying to spark new interest in electric vehicles- through a car rental initiative. Drive Electric Orlando launched on Thursday. The initiative aims to steer some of the millions of tourists who visit Orlando into trying electric cars.

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Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs drove into the Peabody hotel ballroom in a Nissan Leaf- a plug in electric car- to tout the city’s friendliness to electric vehicles.

Many of Florida’s 300 plus charging stations are clustered around Orlando. Add 57 million tourists a year, and the city is ideal for electric car rental says Nathan Prior, director of Business Rental Sales for Enterprise.

Prior says electric cars may not be suitable for everybody.

“If somebody is taking a day trip and they plan to go to Tampa, then maybe that’s not the vehicle we put them into,” he says.

However, if drivers are staying in the area of the Convention Center, Prior says electric vehicles are a good choice.

As part of Drive Electric Orlando, Enterprise is adding 15 Nissan Leafs to its rental fleet at Orlando International Airport.

It will cost the same as renting a midsize conventional car, and charging is free at the Peabody and other hotels that are part of the initiative as well as Disney and Seaworld.

The initiative is a project of the Electrification Coalition, a Washington DC based business group that promotes the use of electric vehicles.

Chairman Seifi Ghasemi wants the Orlando initiative should stimulate demand for electric cars.

“We’re all convinced that once you get the family into an electric car, they will love it and they will want to buy it," he says.

"So we think this is one of the best venues for promoting and getting people excited about electric cars.”

Ghasemi says the electrification coalition is also working to promote electric vehicle use in Fort Collins Colorado, and the group’s looking for other cities to pick up the initiative too.


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