They say hindsight is 20/20, and looking back it is clear that there was a lot of hype leading up to the launch and adoption of electric cars. The hordes of eager customers never materialized, leading to bankruptcies of automakers and charging utilities alike. So is anyone surprised that electric rental cars are failing to draw customers as well?
Enterprise Rent-A-Car has only added approximately 300 electric vehicles to its fleets, falling short of its own goals to add 500 to 1,000 EVs by the end of this year. The demand just isn’t there, according to Enterprise, and many customers simply swap the EVs out for a regular gas car part way through their contracts.
The length of the rentals is also a lot shorter too; whereas the average rental car is out for six or seven days, most EVs are only rented for a day and a half. While rental fleets could benefit from the lack of maintenance and cheap fuel used by electric cars, the reality is that most people renting a car need it because they plan of doing some serious driving. The limited range and long recharge times just doesn’t work for most tourist or business types.
While the Tesla Model S is a notable exception, Enterprise is charging $500 a day to rent one. Until cheaper EVs can offer 150 miles of driving or more, I don’t expect EV rentals to take off.