What’s one way to spark growth in electric vehicle usage in the United States? Put cars like the Nissan Leaf in more easy reach to would be drivers through creative schemes such as a new project just hatched in Orlando, Florida. The city with one of the highest tourist populations because of popular attractions like Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando has launched Drive Electric Orlando (DEO) as a partnership between the tourism industry and EV supporters.
DEO is primarily being driven by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the Electrification Coalition, a group of business leaders from various sectors of the EV industry. Through the program Enterprise has begun renting Nissan Leaf electric cars at its Orlando International Airport location. The Orlando Sentinel reports as well Chevy Volts may eventually join the choices as demand hopefully increases.
Those who rent a zero emissions vehicle under the DEO moniker, according to those behind it, should be able to cruise around the Orlando area without fear of running out of a battery charge due to a network of 300+ electric charging stations. Many of these are free to recharge a vehicle at, and in some cases hotel partners, such as The Peabody Orlando and Renaissance Orlando, offer free recharging for participants along with valet parking service.
So what benefits might you get by renting a Nissan Leaf in Orlando? It is mostly a feel good experience, in all honesty. The usual protecting the environment and supporting American energy independence are a given, but there’s also the idea of saving money by not having to put more expensive gas into the vehicle. DEO does throw in a few tangibles as well, including free GPS in the cars and free use of the Clear fast lane at airport security when you head out of town. For some there may also be the added notion of getting to “test drive” an electric car as a rental before deciding whether or not to purchase one back home.
“Over the last several years,” said City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer in a statement, “this community has worked very hard to position itself as a leader in the electric vehicle space and we now boast over 300 charging stations. That foundation, combined with our legendary tourism industry and visitor population, makes us the perfect place to be able to provide Americans from around the country with the opportunity to try out electric cars in an easy, fun and risk-free environment. We are incredibly proud to be taking a leadership role in advancing the adoption of electric cars.”