It's the hurdle that electric vehicles must clear to be launched into the mainstream: range anxiety. But this time it isn't prospective customers who worry about running out of juice, Bloomberg reports, but renters who return to car rental agencies before their lease is up and trade their EVs in for more traditional gasoline-powered autos and gas-electric hybrids.

"People are very keen to try [electric vehicles], but they will switch out of the contract part way through ... they think they can't get to a charging station," says Lee Broughton, head of sustainability at Enterprise. Enterprise customers who rent EVs reportedly trade them in 1.6 days into the rental period on average, which compares unfavorably to the six- to seven-day rental periods of traditional, fuel-burning automobiles.

Christopher Agnew, an analyst at MKM Holdings LLC, says that longer range would help rental customers' range anxiety, especially since they are usually renting vehicles in unfamiliar places.

And if consumers want an EV with a range that exceeds 100 miles, they'll have to step up to a Tesla Model S, which can achieve a maximum of 300 miles but is in a much higher price category than vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf due to its exotic-luxury-car status. MPG Car Rental in Venice, CA, near the Los Angeles International Airport, rents Leafs for $99 per day, while Model Ss go for $500 per day.

Despite these developments Enterprise, Hertz and MPG Car Rental all say they will continue to buy EVs for their fleets.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 71 Comments
      Technoir
      • 1 Year Ago
      They should rent the chevy Volt then. Best of both worlds, no range anxiety.
      jamcar00
      • 1 Year Ago
      It should be no surprise that today's electric vehicles make lousy rentals. I own a Chevy Volt and I would not rent an electric for business or pleasure. For today's EVs to be practical, you need access to a charging station either at your daily destination or at your residence. This is due to the slow rate of charging that today's EVs experience. Owning an EV has introduced me a new way of measuring charging ability, that is in miles per hour. My Volt, connected to a 240 volt charger, recharges at a rate of about 11.5 miles per hour. Half that for a 120 volt charger. For comparison, a gas pump delivers a gallon in about 10 seconds, so a car that gets 20 mpg "recharges" at a rate of 7200 mph. All EVs on the market charge at this rate except for the Ford Focus Electric (charges at twice the rate of the Volt) and the Tesla (when hooked up at their DC supercharging stations). Thus an EV needs to sit at a charger for an extended period daily if you drive any distance at all. This is OK if there is a charger at your destination or hotel, but the charging infrastructure available today is sparse, at best. So, imagine picking up an EV at the airport, driving 30 miles to a business meeting, off to a hotel for the night, another business meeting the next day, then back to the airport. A trip like this will deplete the entire charge of an EV. Without access to a charger for about 4-8 hours, the renter will be calling the rental company's 800 road service number. I have 3 charge station apps on my phone and rarely find charging stations convenient to my destinations near home or on my business trips. So, gas rentals for me for now and every day charges for my Volt at home.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      The only time I rent a vehicle is when I am traveling on business or vacation and lacking a permanent residence which would make charging difficult. Renting an electric vehicle could work well if you are replacing a vehicle that is in for repairs and you have easy access to charge the vehicle at night.
      knightrider_6
      • 1 Year Ago
      EVs are not well suited for rental car business. Think of these common scenarios: If you fly to another city and stay in a hotel. You don't have anywhere to charge an EV If you rent a car for a long trip, you don't want to stop every 100 miles to charge, if you can find a charging station at all. Even if you get the car as a loaner for driving within city, you don't have a charging station at home. In fact if I owned an EV, I would rent a gasoline car for occasional long distance trips.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's my experience, that Resort tourists, are quite delighted to try renting an EV, (especially two-wheel) as a novelty while visiting a resort, as destinations and charging facilities are all easily within the vehicles range. However, renting a vehicle from an Airport or similar is more difficult as the rental driver is less in the mood for adventure, and unwilling to move from the familiar. As EV ownership expands, and more people are familiar with EV operation, EV rental will increase correspondingly.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      I cannot comprehend renting a LEAF out to people who don't drive EVs usually. They'd freak out just seeing the range meter. My friends freak out when it reads 30 miles remaining. Driving an EV takes some learning, renting for a day just seems like a bad opportunity to learn and a great opportunity to get stuck on the roadside. They should at least tell you to download PlugShare on your phone before you take the thing out.
      goatcars2
      • 1 Year Ago
      DUHHH !!! Who wants to drive a glorified golf cart with the real possibility of being stranded on a crowded highway in the first traffic jam encountered???? All electric cars are in town run abouts and not suited for any type of REAL driving excursions...Even if there were charging stations on every corner, who wants to wait HOURS for a partial charge ?? All the lies perpetrated by a liberal media come to light when you rent one of these automotive disasters !!!
        phil
        • 1 Year Ago
        @goatcars2
        ,,but Oh, didn't you just FEEL really good, about saving the planet, and such??? Ha!!! That lasted for about 10 miles!
        BraveLil'Toaster
        • 1 Year Ago
        @goatcars2
        I don't know when the last time you drove a gas car was, but you know when that needle on the gas gauge gets close to E? That's when you fill up, right? Yeah, it kind of works that way with electrics too. They don't just magically go from half a charge to 0 in the blink of an eye at complete random, with no warning whatsoever. Also, this is LA, where there's 21 quick chargers (get a full charge in less than half an hour) in a 50 mile radius. So, so much for "wait hours for a partial charge".
      posthuf
      • 1 Year Ago
      Because they're C R A P!!! Any car that can't get me to work because the battery dies sitting in LA traffic isn't worth a penny! What really irritates me about this whole electric car BS is that OUR taxes subsidized the manufactures, OUR taxes buy them for every government agency you can imagine, then they're left sitting in parking garages, and the talented rich and famous believe they have the right to tell us we're not doing enough to support their idiot causes by buying these over-priced, over-hyped short-sighted, PC pieces of garbage!
      scificarolinaguy
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Range anxiety" is an apt description. It is the main reason why Americans are not buying electric cars. We do not want 2 cars: one for in town and one for out of town driving.
      Paul P.
      • 1 Year Ago
      While I probably wouldn't rent one from a Avis/Hertz type outfit to use my entire vacation, I might give one a go if they were offered as a courtesy car at the hotel. Like if they were conveniently offered for quick trips to the store, or to do a little city/in-town exploring for the day, or something along those lines. I know I've been on trips where I use public transportation to get around, but sometimes wish I had access to a car at the hotel for a quick local trip when I don't want to spend an hour planning a public transportation route that gets me within 10 blocks.
      Randy
      • 1 Year Ago
      And again I see the brilliance behind Ford's method in rolling out electrics. They electrified only existing vehicles which allows them to swap, cancel or update the same car to any fuel base on a whim without having money invested in an entirely unique vehicle. Such slumps in sales (which Ford is not having) means little to the company, they simply adjust volume amd divert to the gas and hybrid lines for their powertrain. I'm a fan!
    • Load More Comments