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.
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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