• Dec 9th 2010 at 7:57AM
  • 11
If testing out the newest electric vehicles is high on your list of priorities, then perhaps you should check out Hertz's by-the-hour plug-in car rental program. Hertz is willing to bet that curious consumers will flock to their lots for some extended drive time in a plug-in vehicle and has thus decided to make the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Tesla Roadster, Smart ED and Coda Sedan available for rent through its Connect by Hertz program.

Beginning on December 15th, residents in New York City will be able to rent a plug-in vehicle through Hertz. This we knew. The Connect by Hertz program will slowly branch out to include cities such as San Francisco, Washington D.C., the state of Texas and London, England by the end of next year. In addition, Hertz will consider extending the program to include college campuses in North America and even aims to include China by the end of 2011.

The rental process is actually quite simple, but due to the limited availability of plug-in vehicles, Hertz will restrict access to members only. To become a member, simply sign up at the Connect by Hertz site. There is a variable fee associated with joining, but it's a small price to pay to get a crack at driving the vehicles of tomorrow. After paying your membership dues, you will need to submit some info and wait for the rental agency to contact you regarding vehicle availability. While the company hopes to have up to 1,000 plug-in rental vehicles available by the end of next year, only 20 will enter the program by mid-2011, so we suggest that you book your reservation ASAP.

[Source: Plugin Cars]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      I think EVs are still overpriced and underfunctioning, but I'd rent one just to try it out for a day.
        • 8 Months Ago
        And I think there are a lot of conventional cars that are overpriced and underfunctioning. Conventional cars have had decades of refinement to improve function, and orders of magnitude higher volumes to reduce price, and there's still no more than 5 or 6 current ICE cars I'd be happy buying! EVs are too immature and too low-volume in order to have a model for everyone at this time, but give the technology a little time, and more competition to produce a wider choice, and I expect EVs appeal to a lot more people.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I'm totally renting a Volt, and later a tesla for a day! But since it says they charge by the hour, it's probably crazy expensive. When it settles down and i can do it for a day on less than $150, i'll bite. If it's something like $50 an hour then eat it.
      • 8 Months Ago
      These 3 cars have pretty different designs, but they all have a similar ''face'' front design. (The Smart EV is almost scary!)
      • 8 Months Ago
      Other thing :

      ''While the company hopes to have up to 1,000 plug-in rental vehicles available by the end of next year, only 20 will enter the program by mid-2011, so we suggest that you book your reservation ASAP''.

      That means 20 in June and then 980 more in the next 6 months!? Ambitious!
      • 8 Months Ago
      I am surprise not to see the Volt, may be not 100% EV but if I rent a car I would like to use it more than 50miles (or 100 miles round trip...)
        • 8 Months Ago
        ...the Volt is in there. Re-read the title.
      • 8 Months Ago
      One thing that's not made clear in this story is that "Connect by Hertz" is Hertz' already-existing car-sharing system (a la Zipcar). They're just adding some EVs to it. Assuming charging infrastructure is available in the cars' designated parking spots (and it would have to be for this to work), this is a great use of EVs, since by definition these cars are rented for short trips.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Bring this junk to Ohio, I'd rent each one of these for a few hours just to try it out, and would probably recommend a few others try it out as well.

      If hotels start putting in EV charging stations, an EV rented from Hertz would be perfect for my business trips, as I never wander more than 20-30 miles from the airport while I'm there.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Very clever of Hertz.
      1. Most people renting an EV to try it out, wouldn't otherwise have rented a car that day.
      2. People who end up buying an EV may rent from Hertz at a later date when they want a gasoline car to take an extended road trip.
      • 8 Months Ago
      This is a great way to get more people exposed to electric cars and get them interested in a much more effective way that the automakers individual attempts to inform consumers about their products and give them wheel time. If 1000 electric vehicles are changing hands multiple times a week, that's a significant amount of exposure and could get tens of thousands more interested in purchasing an EV. And if other rental companies follow suit, we could be talking hundreds of thousands. I'm excited :)
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