Home Rental Cars Surprise! Rental Car Companies Created Another Fee

Surprise! Rental Car Companies Created Another Fee

by joeheg

Reading a car rental receipt can seem like trying to understand another language. Besides your rental fee, there’s an endless list of mandatory and optional charges depending on where you are renting the car.

Airport fees, license fees, tire fees, tolls, fuel, visitor surcharges and taxes are all broken down by line item. While it could seem like car rental companies had run out of ideas, technology has allowed them to add another fee.

Introducing the “Vehicle recharging fee.”

Companies have rented hybrid vehicles for over a decade but fully electric vehicles are a newer introduction to their fleets. The major player in the market is Hertz, which is purchasing a large number of Teslas to rent nationwide. Other rental companies also rent Tesla models, along with the Nissan Leaf.

Many people who will rent electric vehicles may have never driven one before. Therefore they might not be considering some of the differences in the rental experience. The one thing people may not think about is that recharging your car and plugging it into a charging station isn’t free (you pay by the kilowatt-hour or kWh.)

Since electricity isn’t free and that’s your fuel, does that mean you have to return your EV with a full charge like returning a gas-powered car with a full tank? Turns out, it depends on who you’re renting from.

Hertz is trying to get people to try EVs, and they have the most lenient policy.

CHARGE LEVEL AT PICK-UP AND RETURN– Hertz will endeavor to provide the EV at time of vehicle pick-up with a battery charge of 80%.  You are required to return the EV with a minimum charge of 10%. You are responsible to maintain a sufficient charge on the EV during your rental. You will be responsible for the cost of any tow if the EV is not drivable due to a low battery. You are not authorized to call a private tow on Hertz’ behalf. All tows of the EV must be by flatbed and must be arranged through Hertz Emergency Roadside Assistance.

You only have to return the car with a 10% charge. That’s an excellent policy for new EV drivers since they don’t have to sit charging their car before returning it to the airport.

The only other major rental agencies I could find electric vehicles from were National and Enterprise. Since they’re the same company, their policies about EVs are the same.

A fee to recharge an electric Vehicle (Battery Electric or Plug In Hybrid Electric) if Vehicle is returned with less charge than when rented.

There’s no mention about what the charge per kWh is except for a note that the price is available at the time of the rental.

Looking through the Terms and Conditions of the other US rental agencies, there’s little to no mention of recharging fees for electric vehicles.

As companies rent more plug-in cars, I’m hoping companies adopt the more lenient policy of Hertz instead of National’s approach. Charging a car is not the same as filling a gas tank. I guess how bad things get will depend on whether or not companies inflate the price to recharge a car like they do if you bring a car back with less than a full tank. Or will they offer a package where you can prepay and bring back a car with a low charge like they do for fuel?

Or am I sitting here giving them ideas?

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