With so many electric cars hitting the market in the next five years, choosing the right one could be difficult for the indecisive buyer. Many electric car buyers may not currently own a car at all, and others might be looking for a short range second car to get them to and from work. Yet with such demand for cars like the Nissan LEAF, even getting a test drive could be difficult. What’s an early adopter to do?
Well, you could rent them. Rival car rental companies Avis and Enterprise are each rolling out electric cars for rent in 2011. Which will you choose for your next vacation?
Avis Budget Group, which also owns Budget Rent A Car, has ordered 500 Renault Fluence Z.E.’s and Kangoo Express Z.E.’s to rent out across Europe through 2011. France, Spain, Belgium, England, Germany, and Portugal will all be recipients of these electric rentals. The question remains however, will these cars cost a premium over conventional vehicle rentals? Many car rental companies force you to either return the car with a full tank of gas, or buy the gas currently in the tank as a discounted rate (whether you use it all or not). On the flip side, electric cars need a lot less maintenance than conventional cars, which will save rental companies a lot of money in the long run.
Meanwhile Enterprise, Avis’s rival, has signed a deal with CODA, an electric car startup in California, to buy up to 100 of their sedans in 2011. Enterprise already has a deal with Nissan to purchase many LEAFs for rental, but adding CODA to the lineup will give renters options. Hell, I might go and rent one just to see how the thing drives. CODA and Enterprise are also in talks to provide CODA sedan buyers with backup transportation during scheduled maintenance and “other partnerships” to encourage electric car buyers. Who ever thought rental agencies would be compelling agents of change in the car market?