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Nation’s Largest Electric Vehicle Rental Initiative Launches in Orlando

Groundbreaking Initiative Puts Orlando Visitors Behind the Wheel of Electric Cars

ORLANDO, Fla. Sept. 5, 2013 – 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.

More from our partners:

Sam Gilliland, Board of Directors, Sabre Holdings

“As a leading technology company for the travel industry, Sabre is proud to encourage the use of electric cars,” said Sam Gilliland, of the Sabre board of directors and a member of the Energy Security Leadership Council.  “Orlando is an ideal place to help travelers break through any skepticism they may have about electric vehicles while renting cars there for vacation or business meetings.  Through our extensive network of travel agents, Sabre is promoting electric car rental in Orlando with the hope that when travelers try one they will view it as a viable option the next time they consider buying a car.  As more people turn to electric cars, our country will reduce its dependence on foreign oil.  And breakthrough technologies like electric cars and alternative fuels will reduce emissions helping contribute to a more sustainable environment.”

Mayor Buddy Dyer, City of Orlando

“Over the last several years, 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.”

Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orange County

“Launching America’s first-ever, large-scale fleet of electric rental cars is more than just a way to offer our visitors something they can’t experience anywhere else.  It’s a groundbreaking step in making sure that we are not just the world’s premier vacation destination, but also the world’s premier green destination.”

Rich Maladecki, President and CEO, Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association

“Sustainability programs are becoming a critical component relating to advancing lodging competitiveness,” said Rich Maladecki, president and CEO of Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association.  “Offering Central Florida visitors the option of electric vehicles – through the Drive Electric Orlando initiative – is an amenity that demonstrates the regions ability to satisfy consumer needs.”

Brendan Jones, Director of EV Infrastructure and Strategy, Nissan

“Nissan knows that the best way to increase interest in LEAF and other electric cars is through direct experience or word of mouth from someone who has driven one,” said Brendan Jones, director of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Strategy for Nissan.  “Offering LEAF as a rental car in Orlando, along with robust charging infrastructure at hotels, parks and attractions in America’s top travel destination, will undoubtedly help convince new buyers to give up gas and drive electric.”

For more information on the program or to book a Drive Electric Orlando rental car, visit www.driveelectricorlando.com.

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 ABOUT DRIVE ELECTRIC ORLANDO

Drive Electric Orlando is a rental car initiative that puts vacationers and business travelers behind the wheel of America’s transportation future – plug-in electric cars.  Through the collaboration of Orlando’s leading rental agencies, top hotels and major attractions, Drive Electric Orlando provides drivers an exciting and seamless rental experience.

ABOUT THE ELECTRIFICATION COALITION

The Electrification Coalition is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group of business leaders committed to promoting policies and actions that reduce America’s dependence on oil by facilitating the deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale.  The members of the Electrification Coalition are leaders of companies representing the entire value chain of an electrified transportation system.  For more information, visit www.electrificationcoalition.org.