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First Electric-Powered, Four-Wheel Rental Cruisers in Santa Barbara

Moke Vehicles for Rent; Look Like Jeeps, Go 40 Miles

Photo: Paul Wellman From the Funk Zone to the foothills, emission-free outings in an electric Moke can cover 40 miles on a single charge.

A bike rental shop in the Funk Zone of Santa Barbara recently upped its game with the addition of Moke Electric Vehicles, the first electric-powered, four-wheel option in its stock.

Wheel Fun Rentals is offering the new emission-free, low-noise cruisers, which resemble a Jeep Wrangler, for $69 per hour or $179 for half a day. To set out for an excursion, drivers simply pull a lever to start the electricity running and use a key to start the engine.

Photo: Paul WellmanSofia Mejias behind the wheel of a rented Moke electric car and touring Santa Barbara.

Sporting bright blue, red, orange, pink, and yellow paint jobs, the open-air vehicles are designed for getting around downtown. A Moke runs up to 40 miles on a full battery, has turn signals, headlights, sideview windows, seat belts, cupholders, and a Bluetooth radio system — not to mention a removable top.

The street-legal vehicles can go up to about 25 mph and seat up to four people, but require a driver age 21 or older with a valid license. Despite their adventurous, off-road look, the cars are restricted to city streets, limiting users to downtown Santa Barbara and trips that can be made within the battery life.

Wheel Fun Rentals, which has 10 Mokes in stock, began renting to customers this past month.

Though standard cars are available at national rental companies, Mokes are the only all-electric vehicles available for rent in Santa Barbara and one of the only vehicle rental options for people under 25.

Drivers are subject to many of the same laws governing personal automobiles, said Teddi Drew, owner and operator of Wheel Fun Rentals, can get tickets for illegal parking or texting while driving, or be arrested for drunk driving.

[Correction: The Moke’s top speed is about 25 mph, not 40.]

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