Car rental giant Hertz made a bold push towards electrification with its recent order of 100,000 Tesla electric vehicles (EVs). The move makes Hertz the first major rental car corporation to invest in electrified vehicles. It is also one of the country's most significant EV investments, matching the 100,000 vans ordered by Amazon from EV startup Rivian.
The deal is also a win for Tesla, which recently recalled its Full Self-Driving Beta update within 36 hours of its launch due to severe safety problems. Owners reported multiple issues, including abrupt engagement by the forward-collision warning (FCW) system for no apparent reason or upon occasion, when no other cars were present at all.
An electrified vehicle fleet offers rental car operators several economic advantages, including a lower cost of maintenance. In addition, charging often proves to be less costly than fueling up. However, its transition will not be without investment. Hertz has committed to installing an EV charging network in its operations around the globe.
To launch the consumer EV program, Hertz hired NFL star and seven-time Super Bowl champion, Tom Brady. Brady will appear in TV ads promoting the "Hertz, Let's Go!" campaign.
The program launches in early November, enabling consumers to rent a Tesla Model 3 at Hertz neighborhood and airport locations across the country and several European cities. Hertz is also offering free charging to incentivize consumers.
According to interim Hertz CEO (and former Ford CEO) Marks Fields, the move reflects electric vehicles' growing popularity. "Electric vehicles are now mainstream, and we've only just begun to see rising global demand and interest," Fields said in a company press release. "The new Hertz is going to lead the way as a mobility company, starting with the largest EV rental fleet in North America and a commitment to grow our EV fleet and provide the best rental and recharging experience for leisure and business customers around the world."
Until now, Hertz and Enterprise were the only companies that offered EV car rentals. Both offer the Tesla Model S as an upscale rental category. As EVs gain popularity, many consumers opt to rent from less traditional companies such as Sixt, which offers the Volvo XC40 Recharge, and car-sharing company Turo, which has an entire category dedicated to electric vehicles. Hertz's Tesla order will likely pressure competitors like Avis and Enterprise to electrify their fleets.