Thursday, October 17, 2013

Electric Car Rentals Hampered by Range Anxiety Concerns

Although rental car companies like Enterprise and Hertz have started to offer electric cars in their rental car fleets, many renters have stayed away from them due to range anxiety concerns. Due to their limited driving range, renters are afraid they will simply run out of battery power.
"People are very keen to try it, but they will switch out of the contract part way through," Lee Broughton, head of sustainability at Enterprise stated. "Range anxiety makes them think they can't get to a charging station."
When renters do decide to rent an EV they either often bring them back early in exchange for a conventional car or they just don't rent them as long. Enterprise customers rent the electric cars for about 1.6 days on average, compared to around seven days for conventional vehicles. Hertz has set a goal of having 1,000 electric cars in its fleet by 2011, but the low demand has kept the company from reaching that goal. Hertz also recently added the Tesla Model S to its fleet in Los Angeles and San Francisco for about $500 a day, while Enterprise offers it for $300-$500 a day.
Renters are not likely to increase their interest in renting electric cars until their batteries can provide a much longer range.