Is Hertz Regretting Going All In With Electric Car Rentals?

by joeheg

At the end of 2021, Hertz signed a deal with Tesla to buy 100,000 electric vehicles. While it’s unclear how many of those vehicles are part of the current fleet, the number of EVs continues to rise. As per recent filings, 10% of Hertz’s 500,000 vehicle fleet are electric vehicles, either Teslas or from other manufacturers like Polestar and GM. Hertz plans to have 25% of its fleet be EVs by the end of 2024.

Electric vehicles are becoming more popular, consisting of 10% of new vehicle sales in the US in 2022. While that seems to match Hertz’s fleet numbers, most cars on the road aren’t new. In addition, while someone may want to drive an EV at home where they know their driving patterns, it’s a different story when you’re traveling to a new place. Without knowing the availability of power chargers or possibly not even knowing how long you’ll be driving, many people, including myself, are saying no to renting an EV.

To its credit, Hertz is doing a full-court press to convince customers it’s OK to rent an EV. The first phase was marketing, using Tom Brady as a spokesperson.

Then Hertz started offering Teslas at a discounted rental price, often selling them at the “Manager’s Special” rate. This wasn’t a popular move as many renters ended up unexpectedly renting an EV with no idea how they worked or how to charge it.

Hertz learned quickly that the term “Surprise EV” was now a thing and customers were pushing back. Car rental price search website Autoslash even put in an option to search for Gas vehicles only. 

There’s been a change in marketing where Hertz is now offering discounted EV rentals. Most recently you can receive a free rental day after renting 2 days plus a free day on your next EV rental until the end of 2023.

In addition, Hertz is emailing an “EV Quiz” to customers which answers some of the biggest questions people have before renting an EV. 

Final Thought

I’m still in the no-EV camp when it comes to renting a car when on vacation. However, depending on the trip, I’m starting to waiver in my steadfast refusal to consider it. If I know where I’m traveling, what I’m going to be doing while there and the availability of chargers (and how convenient it would be to charge the car based on my schedule), I’d be open to considering it.

I guess that’s the first step.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


AinthePNW October 24, 2023 - 12:39 pm

I own and love my EV. But I refuse to rent one on a trip because I believe that Hertz requires that the car is returned at 70% state of battery. It’s not clear exactly how close fast chargers are to the airport and unless it’s Tesla they are not reliable. I refuse to miss my flight trying to find a fast charger that works to return the car. I’m usually in a hurry on the way back to the airport.

swag October 24, 2023 - 12:41 pm

Instead of messing around with free day offers, they should just waive recharging fees. A large majority of the gas cars I’ve ever rented, the only time I fueled up was returning to the airport: one tank was enough. Think of a 1-4 day business trip, where you just drive from the airport to the hotel, then back and forth between the hotel and office. For a trip like that, if I could bring back the EV half-charged, then I’d never have to worry about finding chargers at all.

Kristen October 24, 2023 - 2:30 pm

Agree with all the article on Hertz and EVs but the one thing you missed is the cost they are charging ton top up if you don’t return it fully charged. That was ridiculous and yes we were renters that received a surprise EV.

Steve October 27, 2023 - 10:17 am

It is true that Hertz has low demand for EV leisure rental but they struck gold with EV rentals for Uber. There is a wait list for people who drive for Uber wanting to rent an EV. For the past 2 weeks Hertz has been sending their EV cars to their TNC division. They’re actually making more money with EV through TNC than leisure rentals.


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