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Range Anxiety Stifles Electric Vehicle Rentals

Electric Vehicles, Like Tesla Model S, a Very Small Part of Rental Fleets
Electric Vehicles, Like Tesla Model S, a Very Small Part of Rental Fleets

Major automobile rental companies, in response to demand, have been putting electric vehicles into their fleets, but the interest is fleeting, at best.

Depending on the time available, the next time you go on vacation farther than a few hours from home, you’ll probably take an airplane. Unless you like road trips [I’m the only one in my family who does] why would you spend hours, or even days, getting to some far off destination, which would cut into your actual destination time? The only problem with your destination, of course, is that you’ll have to rent a vehicle when you get there, especially if it is an area with little public transportation options.

Car rental companies step up to the plate, offering rental vehicles ranging from ultra-efficient compact cars to full-size SUVs. Some of these companies, such as Enterprise, offer so-called experience vehicles, such as the Aston Martin Vantage and the Maserati GranCabrio, vehicles which you may never get a chance to drive, unless you have a good friend who also happens to have money. Renting one of these special vehicles has a certain appeal, so renting one for a day, even if it costs $500 or more, is a nice vacation perk.

Electric vehicles, such as the Tesla Model S, have also found limited appeal in rental vehicle fleets. Hertz lists the Tesla Model S under its Dream Cars collection in the Exotic Vehicles list. The Tesla Model S most certainly is a special vehicle, but why isn’t it in the main fleet? According to Lee Broughton, head sustainability at Enterprise, “People are very keen to try it, but they will switch our of the contract part way through. Range anxiety makes them think they can’t get to a charging station.” Enterprise rental data shows that the average electric vehicle is rented for just 1.6 days, compared to 7 days for conventional vehicles.

Range anxiety is probably a big shock to the uninitiated, and not something that a vacationing family wants to deal with when they’re on vacation. If anything, I would rent a Tesla Model S for a couple of days, just to see if I could make the adjustment to a pure electric vehicle, before actually making the commitment to order one.

Image © Hertz

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