City and Uptown Columbus going green with four electric vehicles downtown

To save energy while shuttling visitors downtown, the city of Columbus and Uptown Columbus want to use electric carts if the proposal wins approval from the council on Tuesday.

Columbus Council will be asked to approve the purchase of four electric cars from Adrenalin Powersports Inc. of Griffin, Ga., at a cost of $71,495. Funding for the vehicles will come from a $100,000 donation from Georgia Power to the city.

Richard Bishop, president of Uptown Columbus Inc., said a small vehicle is needed for maintenance during the day and a six passenger cart to move people up and down Broadway. The city of Columbus would also use carts for special events to move people as needed in the Uptown and Civic Center areas.

“It’s just a combination of what the city and Uptown is trying to do,” Bishop said Saturday.

The purchase includes three six-passenger vehicles called people movers and one two-passenger utility cart.

In a report to the 10-member council, city officials and Georgia Power have been meeting about the purchase of electric powered carts. The Polaris GEM Carts use a standard 110-volt outlet to charge the carts in six to eight hours. Electric vehicles can get 30 to 45 miles on a single charge and can be plugged in anywhere.

Electric carts emit no pollution, they have no odor and are quiet.

Although the city of Columbus will own the four carts, Uptown Columbus will use two carts under a Memorandum of Understanding. Uptown Columbus also must provide insurance.

The company has sold more than 50,000 vehicles worldwide, according to the company’s website. GEM cars have been driven more than 450 million miles, saving 20 million gallons of gas.

Bishop said Uptown Columbus wants to go as green as it can. He didn’t know if use of the carts would lead to more electric vehicles downtown.

“It’s a little early to tell,” he said. “We need to see how this process works.”

The purchase of the electric carts comes three weeks after the city announced the opening of two new Level 4 charging stations, one on 11th Street and another on Whittlesey Road. The stations can charge an electric vehicle in less than 20 minutes compared with Level 2 stations that take up to five hours.