2011 Nissan Leaf -– Click above for high-res image gallery
With a slew of announcements streaming in from Nissan and Chevrolet, we've been hard-pressed to find time to slot in an equally important bit of info announced by Enterprise Rent-A-Car. According to the announcement, Enterprise and Nissan have agreed to terms that will bring the Leaf electric vehicle (EV) to Enterprise rental lots starting next year. Beginning this November, Enterprise will install charging stations at 100 different rental locations scattered throughout these eight cities: Seattle, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego,Tucson, Knoxville, Nashville, and Portland, OR. By January 2011, 500 Nissan Leafs will begin to appear on the Enterprise lots that have the chargers.
Rental costs have not been announced, but Enterprise spokeswoman Lisa Martini suggested that the Leaf will likely demand a premium price, much like the hybrid vehicles that the company currently rents to customers. Regardless of price, the opportunity to rent a Leaf will give potential buyers a taste of the zero-emissions driving experience and, as we've noted before, once you drive an EV, there's almost no chance of going back to something powered by gas. Follow the jump for more info on the Enterprise Rent-A-Car/Nissan Leaf agreement. Hat tip to Bill!
Photos copyright ©2010 Damon Lavrinc / AOL
[Source: Enterprise Holdings]
Enterprise Rent-A-Car to Begin Offering Electric Vehicles in U.S.
Nissan LEAFs Will Be Available in Select Markets Next Year – Extending Enterprise's Commitment to Support Clean, New Technologies
July 27, 2010 (St. Louis) – Enterprise Rent-A-Car today announced the first phase of its plans to offer electric vehicles (EVs) at select offices throughout its neighborhood network of more than 5,000 U.S. locations. Delivery of 500 Nissan LEAFs will begin in January 2011 and will continue throughout the year. In addition to the LEAFs, the company will offer customers electric vehicles from other manufacturers as they become available. The announcement is the latest evolution of Enterprise's ongoing commitment to embracing alternative technologies and bringing viable solutions to the market place.
"As a company that owns and operates the world's largest fleet of passenger vehicles, we have a vested interest and a history of working with manufacturers to integrate alternative-powered vehicles into our fleet," said Lee Broughton, director of sustainability for Enterprise Holdings, which owns and operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car as well as the Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental brands. "With airport and neighborhood locations within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population, our Enterprise Rent-A-Car offices are uniquely positioned to test the market viability of new alternative fuel technologies like the electric vehicle with daily commuters nationwide."
Electric vehicles, commonly referred to as EVs, use no gasoline and do not produce greenhouse gas emissions. The cars can be charged using a standard 110-volt home outlet, or a 220-volt or 480-volt commercial charging station. Most EVs can travel about 100 miles on a single charge, accommodating the travel habits of the daily commuter, who drives an average of approximately 40 miles a day.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car initially will offer electric vehicles to customers across eight different markets where the infrastructure exists to support the vehicles, including Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Knoxville and Nashville, Tenn.; San Diego; Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle. Beginning November 2010, charging stations will be installed at select locations, including several of the Enterprise "hybrid branches" – nearly 100 designated locations which offer hybrids and other environmentally-friendly rental options in 30 different markets. Enterprise is rolling the vehicles out to a limited number of branches to ensure that it can properly train its employees to show customers how to use and charge the EVs.
Through its regional subsidiaries, Enterprise Holdings already operates the world's largest fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles, including nearly 7,000 gas/electric hybrid vehicles.
"As a company, we are committed to manage our business responsibly and for the long term," added Broughton. "Bringing electric vehicles to our fleet is one more way for us to leverage our leadership position to balance the needs of our customers, partners and the world around us."
Enterprise Holdings' introduction of electric vehicles is just one facet of the industry's most comprehensive environmental sustainability platform, which includes initiatives such as a customer carbon offset program; a pledge to plant 50 million trees over the next 50 years; the use of biodiesel fuel in its Alamo, Enterprise and National airport shuttle buses; and a commitment to alternative fuels research. Since 2006, Enterprise's environmental stewardship has resulted in:
* Significant strides in alternative fuel research at the Enterprise Institute for Renewable Fuels focusing on the creation of biofuels from algae, soybean and camelina. Since the Institute was created in 2007 through a partnership between Enterprise and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, it has been awarded approximately $75 million in additional research grants.
* A commitment to reduce both energy use and energy costs by 20 percent over the next five years through the company's new sustainability initiative called the 20/20 Vision.
* WeCar car-sharing technology – complemented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car's extensive local car rental network – provides an environmentally friendly transportation solution, whether it is for an hour, a day, a weekend or longer. Totally automated and membership-based, WeCar serves local businesses, universities and government offices looking to enhance their fleet management operations and sustainability initiatives.
* Annual recycling of approximately 710,000 gallons of used motor oil and more than 676,000 used oil filters through the Alamo, Enterprise and National brand operations.
* In 2010, the planting of the 5 millionth tree through the company's 50 Million Tree Pledge, a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and U.S. Forest Service.
* Recognition in 2009 by the Environmental Defense Fund for the company's new rental transaction system at its more than 7,600 locations worldwide – a network of 45,000 energy-saving thin client terminals deployed through the company's regional subsidiaries, which will enable the company to cut its annual carbon dioxide emissions by 6.5 million pounds – a reduction of nearly 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per branch office per year.
* In its first year, customer participation in the company's carbon offset program, along with a match from the company's charitable foundation, generated $440,000 to fund several certified offset projects that work to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. With partner TerraPass, these projects offset 42,000 metric tons of carbon, which, based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, is equivalent to saving 4.8 million gallons of gasoline and 98,000 barrels of oil.
All told, over the past several years the Taylor family and their companies have contributed or pledged more than $120 million to environmental initiatives. For more information about the full environmental platform, visit www.keystogreen.com.
About Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Founded in 1957, Enterprise Rent-A-Car is an internationally recognized brand with more than 6,000 neighborhood and airport locations in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Ireland, and Germany. Known for exceptionally low rates and outstanding customer service, Enterprise was named to BusinessWeek's annual list of "Customer Service Champs" in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Enterprise also has ranked highest in customer satisfaction among North American airport rentals in 10 of the past 11 years, according to J.D. Power and Associates Rental Car Satisfaction Study. In addition, Enterprise won Budget Travel magazine's 2010 Readers' Choice Award as their favorite rental car brand for customer service around the globe. Enterprise of North America also is part of a global strategic alliance with Europcar, creating the world's largest car rental network. Enterprise Holdings, headquartered in St. Louis, owns and operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Enterprise Rideshare vanpooling and WeCar car-sharing through its regional subsidiaries. With more than 5,000 offices located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population, Enterprise Rent-A-Car offers a wide variety of car leasing, vanpooling, car sharing and hourly rental programs – and local car rental customers are picked up at no extra cost. For more information about Enterprise Holding's environmental stewardship and long-term commitment to the sustainability of its business, visit www.enterpriseholdings.com/sustainability. For more information about Enterprise, visit www.enterprise.com. This news release and other Rent-A-Car announcements are available at the Enterprise Holdings Press Room.