The auto industry is working toward more than half of the vehicles sold use electric powertrains. This change will eventually mean that you’ll be renting EVs.
What if you don’t want to wait and would like to rent an electric vehicle soon? Some rental car companies are already exploring the changes required to put EVs in their fleet. Hertz Corp. is leading the way and making wholesale changes to its business with the addition of several new EVs for customers to enjoy. Hertz is well positioned to make changes quickly.
What Puts Hertz in the Right Position
If Enterprise is the neighborhood rental car company, Hertz is the airport company. Hertz already holds spaces in many parking garages and airports around the country that other rental car companies don’t have. This massive part of the infrastructure for this company could make it much easier to add charging stations along the walls of parking garages to let the Hertz cars plug in and be made ready for you to drive. Could your next vacation include driving a Hertz electric rental car around the area when you visit?
Oil Companies Also Make Changes
Another reason you might be renting EVs in the near future is the partnerships being developed by some rental car companies. Sticking with Hertz, we see this company partnered with BP Pulse. What is BP Pulse? This is the new electric charging division of BP, showing us that oil companies are also taking this movement toward electric vehicles seriously. Instead of falling into its proverbial sword, BP wants to be the choice for many drivers during the transition to EVs and beyond. This means developing and installing electric charging stations around the country to give new EV drives the desired access.
The Hertz EV Fleet is Growing
By 2024, Hertz intends for one-quarter of its US fleet to be comprised of electric vehicles. Recently, Hertz committed to buying 175,000 GM electric vehicles. These new GM models will add to the 100,000 Teslas and 65,000 Polestars the company already committed to buying. With all of these electric vehicles, Hertz will soon have the largest EV fleet outside of China. Hertz isn’t waiting for the other rental car companies to catch up to become a leader in this industry. They are taking this market by storm and offering customers various options when it comes to electric driving.
How Many Chargers Does Hertz Have In Place?
Currently, the Hertz fleet has about 1,600 chargers to use. That’s not enough for the vast number of cars that will be part of this fleet soon. They have plans for 3,000 more by the end of the year. These chargers are all Level 2 models, which work like the charger a homeowner puts in their garage to charge an EV overnight. These are all relatively easy and affordable for this company to install, but if they want to be the leader in renting EVs to the public, upgrades are required.
What’s the Charging Challenge for Hertz and BP Pulse?
Unlike a private owner of one EV, for Hertz and other rental car companies to be profitable, they must turn these cars over quickly. Sure, a rented EV can be plugged in and charged up overnight when returned, and the next customer needs the vehicle in the morning, but that’s not normally how things work. Unlike gas cars, sending a driver out with a partial charge will only slow them down and put a foul taste in their mouth from the experience.
BP Pulse has to solve the charging problem. Right now, that problem is getting cars from their returned charging levels to full for the next customer as quickly as possible. There’s only a short window for cleaning, washing, and now charging before the car needs to head out again. A car sitting on a charger isn’t making any money for the company. The consolation might be in adding DC Fast-Charging stations to the rental lots and allowing EVs to go out with 80% charge on them, rather than being completely full. This could be the only way to keep the cars flowing out on the road.
A New Subset of Customers
Not only will many travelers soon spend time renting EVs, but drivers of electric taxis and ride-hailing services could benefit from some of the charging ports Hertz and BP Pulse will install. Unlike filling a tank with gas, charging takes between 20 and 40 minutes on a fast charger. During this time, the driver could enjoy a relaxing lobby with snacks, and the company could offer to clean and wash the car while it’s plugged into the charging port. This might result in partnerships with taxi companies, Uber, and Lyft to give drivers some added benefits.
Hertz Intends to Curb the Customer Frustration
Even though the electric car world is relatively new, some charging stations are already problematic. Some public chargers haven’t been maintained or upgraded as required during the transition from low-range EVs to the models we have today. Unfortunately, because EV charging stations aren’t on every corner like a gas station, drivers don’t have an easy time finding another charger. Hertz says it will curb this frustration by sending drives to network stations that meet or exceed their standards. This should result in better experiences with EVs as these cars become the ones travelers are renting for the future.
Hertz Wants to Be First
Hertz is one of the three largest rental car companies in the country. Both Avis Budget and Enterprise have mentioned adopting EVs for their fleets but haven’t offered any specifics of how they intend to do this. Hertz has specifics, partnerships, and commitments. This should put them first and allow them to be the leader going into the EV future. Many of the Hertz locations are already transitioning to electric models, with both gas and electric offered to customers when they choose to rent through Hertz.
Will you be one of the many drivers renting EVs in the future? It’s likely we won’t see gas-powered vehicles on rental lots ten years from now.
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