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Updated: August 15, 2022

EV rental business launches in Bar Harbor

EV and cruise ship Courtesy / Acadia GEM The battery-powered vehicles, developed in the 1990s, aim to provide an easy-to-maneuver, carbon-free, quiet experience of Acadia.

A new business in Bar Harbor aims to make small, low-speed electric vehicles a viable option for getting around town and exploring Acadia National Park.

The business, called Acadia GEM, has launched a 45-car fleet that seats two, four or six passengers per vehicle. 

“GEM” stands for Global Electric Motorcar. The battery-powered vehicles were developed in the 1990s to fill a market void between golf carts and a full-size automobiles, according to the GEM website. The brand was owned for about a decade by Polaris Industries and was acquired this year by Anaheim, Calif., manufacturer Waev Inc.

The vehicles are legal on any paved road with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less. 

Acadia GEM was launched by Jeff Young and Eben Salvatore, who each are lifelong residents of Mount Desert Island and have decades of experience in Bar Harbor hospitality businesses.

"Millions of people visit Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park every summer," said Young. "Our fleet allows them a fully electric and fun way to explore the area.”

The vehicles have glass roofs and removable doors and are designed to provide a quiet, open-air driving experience that reduces carbon emissions, he added.

"Since Acadia National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in our nation, it is fitting that we do our part to protect its fragile environment,” said Salvatore. “By offering electric vehicles, we can allow visitors to see the beauty of the park without damaging it for future generations.”

Salvatore said that, in recent months, the business has seen a surge of interest from visitors.

"Our fleet recently passed 40,000 miles for the season,” Salvatore said. “In fact, this may be the only EV service of its kind in any national park in the country.”

The company offers a map of places to explore.

For more information, click here

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