Science Center to Rent Electric Cars

As part of its goal to bring emerging technology to the public and demonstrate it in a practical way, the Maryland Science Center announced a fleet of electric cars had arrived the week of June 22 and would be made available for rental and ride share.

The Maya 300 is made by Electrovaya, a Canadian battery company. The cars are limited to 25 miles per hour, contain most of the safety features of a modern car, and travel 60 miles on an overnight charge. It is legally classified as a low-speed electric vehicle. In Maryland, a low-speed vehicle requires tags and a licensed driver, but can’t go faster than 25 miles per hour.

As of now, visitors can test the lime green, zero-emission cars at the Science Center. In addition to the rental and car-sharing program, Electrovaya is offering the Maya 300 as a fleet vehicle, and plans to sell it to American consumers in the future.

The Maya 300 is based on a Chinese car—the Ben Ben, one of China’s top-selling models, made by Chang’an—with dual airbags and anti-lock brakes.

Despite the Maya’s 35-mile-per-hour limit that keeps the vehicle off the highway, Electrovaya CEO Sankar Das Gupta says the cars are aimed at urban drivers. “We believe it’s the perfect car for running around cities,” he says. There is an option to double the vehicle’s range with an additional $10,000 battery pack. Beginning in the next few months, they will be rented for $14.50 an hour for a two-hour minimum.

“It’s what science centers do best,” the science center’s president Van Reiner says. “We hear so much about electric vehicles and what might be possible, but today, we are putting the technology on the road and letting people see that it is a real and viable alternative to gas powered vehicles.”

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