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Talking electric cars launched at Vittoriosa

The Rolling Geeks electric cars at the Vittoriosa Waterfront.

The Rolling Geeks electric cars at the Vittoriosa Waterfront.

Rolling Geeks, an innovative way to tour the culturally rich Cottonera area south of Grand Harbour at your own pace, launched its services last week.

Rolling Geeks is operated by a start-up, Xception Malta Ltd, a joint venture between Dawn Cutajar and Kris Rycken, with 20 years’ experience in different sectors of the tourism industry, both in Malta and overseas.

Tourists and locals alike can rent electric-powered cars equipped with a pre-programm­ed GPS system that guides them on their route while supplying a running commentary of the notable landmarks and cultural places of interest.

Speaking during the launch at their premises at the Captain of the Galleys Palace on the Vittoriosa Waterfront, Rycken said: “Rolling Geeks offers a unique experience that has been exceptionally well accepted since we first started offering our tours earlier this month.

“Our electric cars are silent, eco-friendly, easy to drive and enable people to explore the magnificent Cottonera area while stopping to take in whatever catches their fancy, including a dip in the sea,” he said.

Vittoriosa mayor John Boxall thanked Rycken and Cutajar for their investment not just in Vittoriosa but in the entire Cottonera area – Senglea, Cospicua and Kalkara. This new investment fills a gap that is sorely needed.

“A new page is being written in this book which is approaching its end. But this is an important page and it is up to us to see how we are going to make the best use of it not just in Vittoriosa but for the benefit of the whole of Cottonera,” Mr Boxall said.

The name Rolling Geeks came about because, like true geeks, the cars spend their time pursuing and sharing their passion, which is to share their knowledge of the area in a highly technological manner along the entire 18-kilometre route. The fact that they move around on wheels makes them Rolling Geeks.

The standard Rolling Geek tour lasts two-and-a-half hours and takes in three of the most culturally rich cities in Malta, enabling users to see more than they would in a whole day on foot.

There is a choice of eight languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Russian and Mandarin. Each electric car is comprehensively insured and the price covers VAT and a small bottle of mineral water per person.

The tour is suitable for all ages, although the driver has to be 21 and hold a driver’s licence. The electric cars can be rented by individuals or groups and used for corporate events, weddings and any local event requiring a shuttle service.

The 4x4 electric cars seat four people and have a 60km range with fully loaded batteries. The 5.4 Kw engine is powered by eight 6v batteries and the top speed has been limited to 25km/h. These right-hand-drive cars weigh just 600 kg and are fully road homologated. The rear bench can be removed to accommodate luggage or a picnic table.

Xception Malta commissioned a local IT company, Handson Systems, for each vehicle’s onboard telematics. Thanks to their system, via GPS, not only is there real time direction on where to go but there is a virtual ‘guide’ pointing out the places of interest and some cultural aspects of the route.

The system also enables each vehicle to be tracked from their offices so that they can be assisted where necessary. Should they need to contact the office, an SOS button enables the users to communicate problems or the need for assistance via a small microphone and speaker.

There are a choice of packages on offer that include water taxi transfers from Sliema and St Julian’s, the preparation of picnic bags and the sale of tickets to several museums in the area, including the Maritime Museum, the Inquisitor’s Palace, the Malta at War Museum and Fort Rinella.

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