Doing a first-time rental of an electric vehicle? How could something go wrong?
Doing a first-time rental of an electric vehicle? How could something go wrong?

An electric Genesis GV60 was all they had available at a location in Kansas City, Kansas. Wu received no specific instructions on how to use the vehicle or how to find chargers, but she appreciated the SUV’s ornate and elegant interior.

“If it was a gas vehicle, I would totally consider it as my next car,” she said. But she is out of the market for an EV.

I, on the other hand, have had a lot of experience with EVs. So when I recently rented a Polestar 2 from Hertz in San Diego and received no instructions, it was no problem. But I could imagine a first-time EV driver wondering, “How do I turn this thing on?” Many would be flummoxed by a car with no “Start” button, for instance. In a Polestar, you get in and it’s on. You get out and it turns off. A lot of drivers may be baffled by that alone.

While sales growth has slowed, EVs make up about 7% of overall car sales, according to Cox Automotive. Rental car companies may have overestimated their customers’ readiness for a switch, though.

Hertz made a bold move in 2021, saying it would order 65,000 EVs from Polestar, 100,000 from Tesla and another 175,000 from General Motors. At the time, Hertz said that EVs might represent 25% of its fleet by 2024.

But in January, Hertz said it would sell 20,000 Tesla models, or one-third of its fleet, to buy gas-powered cars.

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The company’s CEO at the time, Stephen Scherr, said, “Collision and damage repairs on an EV can often run about twice that associated with a comparable combustion engine vehicle.”