A fleet of electric vehicles rolled into Annapolis on Thursday to demonstrate their range and capabilities to city officials.
The cars came to town as part of the Driving Government Green campaign, which aims to "educate lawmakers" and "change the culture" around electric vehicles, said event organizer Michael Craner.
Mayor Josh Cohen got behind the wheel of a Tesla Roadster, and it took it for a spin around State Circle.
"It drives great. It's nimble and it responds quickly," Cohen said, but he did find the car's silent engine to be a little eerie.
"We're so used to cars making a sound," Cohen said. "I think over time it won't seem so odd."
Cohen's only complaint was that he'd like some power steering.
The Roadster, which can go from zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds, is one of three electric vehicles owned by Craner. It plugs into any regular 110 volt outlet like any other household appliance and has a range of 245 miles per charge.
A group of state employees, including Rob Spencer, wandered by the presentation during their lunch break. The Roadster caught Spencer's eye and he paused to snap a picture.
"I wouldn't think it's an electric vehicle; it doesn't look like one," Spencer said. "But I think it's too small for a guy my size."
With a six-figure price tag, the Roadster isn't a car most Americans can afford. Craner also brought more moderately priced electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and Prius PHEV.
Craner said that lower costs on gas and maintenance combined with rebates for buying electric vehicles help make them an affordable option for middle class families. He spends about $4 for every 120 miles he drives his Roadster.
The mayor touted the city's own burgeoning fleet of green vehicles, including two clean diesel, electric hybrid boats for the harbormaster and one clean diesel, electric hybrid Circulator trolley.
"We're excited about the prospect of changing out the rest of our heavy fleet," said Transportation Director Richard Newell. "I hope to work with lawmakers to accelerate the conversion."
The city also offers electric vehicle charging stations in Knighton and Park Place garages, as well as one in front of Rams Head Tavern for tour buses. Officials are investigating grant options to bring electric charging stations—which cost between $10,000 to $15,000 each—to all city owned garages within the next year or two.
"The idea of just the cleanliness of all electric vehicles is a beautiful thing," Newell said. "We want to be involved in that."