SAN DIEGO—A leader in innovation in the local vacation rental industry, San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals has gone green, relying on clean air vehicles for the bulk of its business, President Will Holland announced today.
San Diego Sunset has turned to zero-emission electric vehicles and bicycles to take care of the day-today business of the vacation rental company, he said. A bright yellow electric GEM vehicle with the San Diego Sunset Vacation Rentals logos, an electric Segway transporter, and a fleet of bicycles take Holland and his employees up and down the 4-mile stretch of Mission Boulevard, where the company’s 50+ vacation rentals are located.
“It made a lot of sense for a lot of reasons,” Holland said. “We want to keep the ocean air clean and reduce the use of polluting combustible engines as much as possible.” He said that the frequent but short trips required for upkeep of the vacation rentals burned a lot of gas and gave off plenty of pollution. “We probably reduced our fuel usage by about 85 percent,” he said.
The four-seater GEM car will go at speeds up to 25 miles per hour and will travel up to 30 miles on a single charge from a standard 110-volt outlet. “We estimate the cost for electricity is about 15 percent of what we would be paying for gas at today’s prices,” Holland said. “But the reduction in gas emissions is the real pay-off.” The GEM car is limited to streets with a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour, so it is perfect for around Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, but it can’t go on freeways or expressways.
Segways are two-wheeled personal mobility vehicles that are also battery powered. Like the GEM vehicle, the Segway plugs into a standard 110-outlet. It can travel up to about 24 miles on a single charge with a maximum speed of about 12 miles per hour. Unlike the GEM, it can cruise along Ocean Front Walk or Bay Walk and park almost anywhere. “It only costs about 10 cents to charge the battery,” Holland said. “We just leave it plugged in so it’s ready to go when we have an errand to run.”
The company’s pledge to increase its use of zero emissions vehicles extends to its contract work crews as well. “We encourage our maintenance and cleaning crews get around on bicycles, rather than cars,” Holland said. “It’s good for the environment, it’s good for the worker’s health and it’s good for our bottom line. There is a huge savings, not only in gas, but in time and energy wasted just trying to find a parking place,” he said. “Parking is at a premium in the area and bicycles can be locked up anywhere.”
The company still has one SUV, but reserves it for trips away from the Pacific Beach and Mission Beach area, where faster speeds are required and when larger cargo area is needed. “There are times when we have to pick up supplies and building materials and the GEM car and Segway won’t do the job because of the limited speeds, limited range and limited carrying capacity,” Holland explained. “But we depend on the SUV less and less and the zero-emission modes of transportation more and more.”
by Suzanne M. Perez