Electric Wonderland Car Rentals, Yes Please!

The next time you rent a car in California, it could be an Electric Vehicle (EV). In fact, it could be a Tesla S Performance as Hertz, the international rent-a-car company, is now offering the range-topping Tesla in a couple of its Californian locations.

The S Performance is a Plug-In Electric Vehicle powered by an 85 kilowatt battery, powering a 416hp drive train that can go from 0 to 100km/h in just 4.2 seconds and is rated by the EPA to have a 426 kilometre range. In fact, both Enterprise, through its Exotic Care rental portal, and Hertz, through their Dream Car range, have announced the purchase of the Teslas. The Teslas will now stand shoulder to shoulder with other exotic cars that the 2 companies offer for rent such as Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Aston Martins. The Teslas doesn’t come cheap though; the average daily rental will set you back at least USD500 per day, but at least you won’t have to spring for petrol.

Hertz, along with some other car rental outfits such as Enterprise and Car Connection, have had an electric car rental program for some time but there are mixed feelings about the success of EVs in this sector. Enterprise bought 350 Nissan Leafs but has reported that its customers suffered from ‘range anxiety’, the worry about how far the car can go without a charge. However, in stark contrast, Enterprise’s fleet of hybrids are always rented out even though they cost more to hire than a normal car.  A spokesperson from Enterprise said that when they introduced hybrids to their fleet in 2003, the public were also sceptical but had managed to educate their customers overtime.

Rent-a-Tesla (image: Tesla Motors)

Car rental companies have had to set up hot lines to cope with questions such as “Can I recharge the car in the rain?” Enterprise has now decided to place the cars in just 50 locations where the ‘urban-eco-curious’, people who take pride in embracing energy efficient technology, are prevalent. Both Hertz and Enterprise are entering into car-sharing agreements with the likes of SFO Marriot and Four Seasons San Francisco where they are installing Blink charging stations. Unlike the conventional home charging station, which is not much more than an extension lead with a modified plug that can take an overnight charge to recharge the car, Blink stations can charge a Nissan Leaf in about 3 hours.

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