An unprecedented partnership of Orlando's leading rental agency, top hotels and major attractions today officially launched Drive Electric Orlando (DEO). The effort is a first-of-its-kind electric car rental initiative that gives Orlando visitors another exciting experience to add to their itinerary in the Sunshine State – driving an electric car.
"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. "We see this program as Orlando's newest and smartest ride, a program that lets visitors see all that Orlando has to offer while leaving the gas pump behind."
With an extensive network of partners and more than 300 electric charging stations throughout America's tourism capital, Drive Electric Orlando offers a seamless experience from the rental counter, to the theme park, to the hotel and everywhere in between.
"With more than 57 million visitors annually and one of the largest charging networks in the country, Orlando is the ideal location for the Drive Electric project," said Diamond. "Where better to introduce Americans to the electric car than North America's leading travel destination and the world's largest rental car market?"
Drive Electric Orlando will offer unique benefits to family vacationers and business travelers alike. For families, it's an opportunity to enjoy fun, quiet and convenient transportation between all of Orlando's parks, attractions and restaurants without having to stop at the gas station. For business travelers and those attending Orlando conventions, it's an opportunity to try something environmentally forward-thinking, cost-effective and efficient.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the Drive Electric Orlando car rental partner, is renting Nissan LEAF plug-in electric vehicles at its Orlando International Airport location. "Our supporting role in the Drive Electric Orlando project promotes the adoption of electric vehicles in one of the world's top tourist destinations," said Lee Broughton, head of sustainability, Enterprise Rent-A-Car. "We know that the car rental experience is often an extended test drive. Our partnership with Drive Electric Orlando familiarizes travelers with new vehicle technology that they may not otherwise be able to experience."
All renters will receive brief tutorials on the operation of the vehicles, as well as use of charging stations throughout Orlando. Most travelers, however, may never need to find a charging station. Several hotel partners, including The Peabody Orlando and Renaissance Orlando, offer free re-charging for Drive Electric Orlando participants along with valet parking service. The Orange County Convention Center also offers several free charging stations for meeting attendees.
For those who do seek an extra charge, Orlando's network of stations is vast and growing. There are already approximately 300 stations in the metro area, many of which are free to use.
For the leaders of the Electrification Coalition and the growing network of Central Florida travel partners, Drive Electric Orlando is about much more than a leisure or business travel experience. It's part of a larger effort to revolutionize the American transportation sector and reduce America's dangerous dependence on oil, which harms our economy and national security.