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Enterprise Rent-A-Car will soon offer customers a variety of electric vehicle options, from the Coda sedan and Nissan Leaf to the Chevrolet Volt. Which begs an interesting question posed by our brothers-from-another-mother at Engadget – If an electric car or plug-in hybrid is returned without a full charge, are we going to be charged?

At the present time, Enterprise (the largest rental car company in North America) has no plans to charge for EVs needing a juice boost. Enterprise is going to install charging stations on site and the vehicles will get a fresh batch of electrons upon being returned. Hopefully we'll see other rental companies adopt the same policy, but time will tell.

[Source: Engadget | Image: Enterprise]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yes, because the main reason I rent a car is to have it sitting and charging for 13 hours so it will be charged enough to return...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe not now, but you can bet that as these vehicles become more popular and the rental car places have to add more and more charging stations, the customer is going to end up paying for it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The customer will be paying for the energy up front. The energy company doesn't give it away and neither will the rental company. If it costs $29/day for a Cruze, it'll cost $39/day for a Leaf. Depending on how long you'll have the rental and how much driving you'll be doing will determine which is the better deal.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ok, I am in a strange town and I am staying at a hotel on the 9th floor. The parking has no recharge station. How and where do I take my Leaf so I can drive more than 80 miles with the air on?

      Do I have to troll the streets for an outlet that I can plug into and then wait 18 hours?

      Only the Volt even comes close to a car that a visitor would want to have till there are more places to charge. For the most just give me a gas car and for get saving the world for a week while I am on vacation.

      At least with the Volt they can say they give you 40 miles free if they just make you fill the tank.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just like renters have the option for prepaying a full tank of gas (at an extra cost) and you can bring it back "empty", they're just going to roll the electricity costs into the rental.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Just factor the cost of recharging into the cost of the rentals. If the consumer doesn't see the itemized charge, who cares?
      • 4 Years Ago
      But how prevelant are charging stations going to be around the areas where EVs are available? ...Because what happens when your battery is almost done and you still need the car? ...I'm assuming and hoping that the areas that will have EVs for rent will also have public charging stations throughout the area??

      Nice idea to have them for rent though.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just a thought - especially in sunny California, it'd be a great PR boost if they *didn't* charge for the juice, and installed some solar panels on the tops of those canopies to charge the returning cars...

      ... but then again, the realities of corporate profits will probably wreck that idea.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The solar panels are not free. Besides, I think they can charge more money for being "green".
        Rent now! We use renewable energy to charge our electric cars! Rent now!!!

        or something like that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ xtasi:

        Sure, the panels aren't free... though I bet there are some federal incentives out there to use them. And in any case, from what I understand, they're pretty much a one-time charge with minimal ongoing costs after installation.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Rental car companies primarily make their money on the add-ons: insurance, gas charges, booster seats, GPS, etc. Not charging (hah! punny!) customers for fuel, electric, gas or otherwise, will put a dent in their cash flow. I think the posters above are on the right track: they'll get the money some other way. Currently at Hertz, you can rent a Prius or a fuel efficient four banger from their "Green Collection", like a Corolla. You pay a premium for both over a similar sized car not in the collection (as of today at PDX):

      Chevy Imapla: 36.65/day
      Toyota Camry (Green Collection): 39.65/day
      Camry or Altima Hybrid: 108.14/day

      Nissan Sentra: 33.65/day
      Toyota Corolla (Green Collection): 36.65/day
      Toyota Prius Hybrid: 39.65/day

      Some of the prices might be due to a fewer number of green/hybrid vehicles in the fleet (the whole economies of scale thing), but I would bet it's mostly to offset the loss of fuel charges.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'll bet that if you're renting a Volt, you'll need to bring it back with the same amount of gas in the tank, just like any other car, but they probably won't care about the charge state of the batteries. Just a guess.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The cost to recharge a current electric vehicle is only a couple bucks. It'd cost them more in logistics to figure it all out and charge the customer.
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