The hype is here. No matter how you look at it, the brilliant marketing of electric cars by Tesla has achieved their goal. Most new car buyers have now at least thought about buying electric. While full scale adoption has yet to be seen other than in countries like Norway and China, where there are extremely generous government subsidies, the talk is there. Many industry experts expect electric cars to dominate the road ways within the next two decades, and some countries already have pledged to ban the sale of gasoline powered vehicles within the next three decades. Yet when it comes to car rentals, nobody seems to be interested in renting electric. Both Enterprise and Hertz, the two largest car rental companies have confirmed they have been reducing their EV fleet due to lack of demand. Avis, third place in the market, currently do not offer any fully electric vehicles for rent.
One of the major reasons renters do not choose electric, is because of low fuel prices. Although even when renters do choose electric for a full seven day period are generally very impressed by the way they drive, Consumers have commented that the cars are "very peppy, very responsive." However, some of those same customers have only come back a few days later to exchange for a vehicle that runs on gasoline. The usual reason for the early trade-off is normally contributed to range anxiety, the fear that the vehicle will run out of juice before being able to recharge and even just a general lack of understanding of how and when to recharge the battery. That is even despite the fact that rental companies allow EV's to be returned with as much or as little battery life as they please in comparison to demanding a full tank of gas when they return the vehicle.
Enterprise has only about 300 EV's for rent, which are mainly found at city and airport locations where recharging is easier. With a global fleet of 1.9 million vehicles in service, the company considers itself a decent barometer of consumer preference. In the past, the company had about 500 Nissan Leaf electric cars in the United States. Now its EV rental fleet is dominated by the Tesla Model S, which is part of the company's higher end Exotic Car Collection, offered only in select locations. The car rental giant also has about 30,000 hybrid vehicles in its fleet. However, with gas cost averaging less than $2.50 a gallon, even hybrids have low demand. "Nobody's really telling us, 'Hey, I need to drive a hybrid.'" But, if the day comes when gas prices skyrockets, the landscape may see a major change.