For months, John Moran has searched for a low-speed vehicle to transport people throughout the city without needing to be recharged. Today, he’s hoping to find that vehicle.
Moran, the operations manager of the Downtown Improvement District, is leading a charge to establish a downtown circulator in the heart of the city. The circulator is designed to link downtown to adjacent hotels and landmarks such as Marina Jack, with cars arriving every five minutes at designated stops.
In order to maintain that level of service, Moran has searched for a car that can operate over the twelve-hour period during which the vehicles are in operation on a single charge. Earlier test drives of golf-cart style vehicles have been unsuccessful, but a Largo-based company reached out to Moran in regard to a vehicle both parties hope can buck that trend.
Lectric Limos, owned by Dennis Abbey, manufactures electric low-speed vehicles, including a pair used by the Tampa Police Department. Abbey, an engineer who formerly worked for General Electric, said he designed the vehicles from the ground up, providing benefits that modified golf carts lack. Abbey believes the car’s use of a lithium-ion battery — other low-speed vehicles use lead-acid batteries — will give it the range Moran is seeking.
Moran was optimistic after a test drive this morning, but the most important results won’t be known until the end of the day. Once a suitable vehicle is located, Moran said the start-up expenses to purchase and insure the cars should be somewhere around $150,000, which he hopes can be funded by a city entity — such as the DID.
For more about the push for a downtown circulator, pick up a copy of next Thursday’s Sarasota Observer.
Contact David Conway at [email protected].