Orlando Chamber Sponsors Electric Car Program, Tackles Region’s Transportation Challenges
Orlando Inc., the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, is an early participant in a new regional program designed to offer tourists and business travelers a convenient opportunity to use an electric car. The chamber, which is hosting a “rapid charging” station at its headquarters, saw the “Drive Electric Orlando” program as an excellent opportunity to engage with many of its largest member companies in a regional transportation initiative seen critical to the area’s continued growth.
The Drive Electric program is a partnership between Orlando rental car agencies, hotels and tourist attractions. Electric cars are available at area rental car agencies and a network of charging stations has been located throughout the region at hotels, theme parks and the convention center.
Jose Fajardo, Executive Vice President of Orlando Inc., said the electric car program is part of the 100-year-old chamber’s broader focus on transportation. “In Florida, on average, we put more miles on vehicles than anywhere in America,” he said. “Things are very spread out here and during morning or evening drive, we can get gridlocked.”
The initiative is a key part of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s transportation plan and is designed to create a seamless rental car experience for visitors to see first-hand that electric vehicles are reliable and can meet their daily driving needs. More than 300 charging stations have been built in a 70-mile radius around Orlando, which hosts one of the largest tourism centers and rental car markets in the nation.
The chamber’s Fajardo said that the chamber received the donated charging station because of its central location. The chamber will soon be given a Nissan Leaf for six months to use as a “showcase” for its support for electric vehicles.
In addition to the electric vehicle program, the chamber’s transportation initiative has also included support of a 61-mile commuter rapid rail system designed to serve as the cornerstone of a regional multi-modal transportation system for Central Florida.