MOUNT DESERT ISLAND — Those over 25 years old with a valid driver’s license who want to save on gas this summer will be able to rent a GEM – a 100 percent electric low-speed vehicle (LSV).
Eben Salvatore and Jeff Young of Bar Harbor have launched Acadia GEM, a new land activities and transportation service that will rent LSVs to those wishing to explore Acadia National Park. These rentals can also be taken on any public road in Bar Harbor with speeds posted 35 miles an hour or less, as a GEM cannot go any faster.
“It’s just like a rental car. LSV is a low-speed vehicle, which is a category of vehicles that are allowed on any public way that is posted 35 miles an hour or less,” said Young, who noted that GEM rentals are not allowed to be driven on sidewalks.
The 45-vehicle fleet, expected to start arriving in April, will be kept at Acadia GEM’s facility in Bar Harbor, where 30 to 50 charging stations are being installed. Drivers will have a choice of renting a two-person, four-person or six-person LSV, with or without doors.
Most of the vehicles can go 50-70 miles on a single one- to two-hour charge, and the number of riders will determine its range. While going downhill, the car’s battery charges itself. According to Young, it is estimated that the fleet could save in excess of 20,000 gallons of fuel in one season.
“We’re hoping to run all summer into the end of November, and then as needed for the winter,” Young said, adding there would be days during the off-season where the vehicles could be used for volunteer work.
Salvatore and Young are currently working with other area businesses to see if Acadia GEM can help facilitate any transportation needs. Young also said discounted rentals may be offered to locals before and after peak dates.
Young said the ultimate goal is not only to rent the vehicles but to also use them for ride and delivery services. “Rather than try to find a parking spot at a restaurant, we could shuttle customers to their hotel, but at this point all our main goals for this year will be to rent them out.”
To rent a GEM, drivers must be over 25 years of age and will need to provide a driver’s license and insurance information.
Acadia GEM will be located at 195 Main St., Bar Harbor. More information can be found on the Acadia GEM Facebook page or at www.acadiagem.com.