Ever wanted to drive a Tesla? Your next rental car may be one, as a major car company moves toward electric vehicles.
Hertz announced on Oct. 25 that it would order 100,000 Tesla Model 3 vehicles by the end of 2022 and add electric vehicle charging infrastructure worldwide. Tesla vehicles will be available at Hertz airport and neighborhood locations in several U.S. and European markets starting in early November.
“Electric vehicles are now mainstream, and we’ve only just begun to see rising global demand and interest,” interim chief executive Mark Fields said in a statement.
“The new Hertz is going to lead the way as a mobility company,” the statement continued, “starting with the largest EV rental fleet in North America and a commitment to grow our EV fleet and provide the best rental and recharging experience for leisure and business customers around the world.”
The news couldn’t come at a better time, as it’s an effort to help Hertz meet fall and winter demand as travel recovers. The company says Hertz’s global fleet will be 20% electric vehicles by the end of 2022. Additionally, customers who rent a Tesla Model 3 will have access to 3,000 charging stations throughout the U.S. and Europe.
The rental car meltdown travelers experienced this spring, which we covered extensively, resulted from car companies falling on hard financial times during the pandemic. These companies quickly sold large portions of their fleet and canceled upcoming orders. However, once travel began to bounce back, car rental companies couldn’t keep up with the demand.
That led to travelers arriving at the airport or rental facilities only to find that their previously confirmed reservations had been canceled due to lack of supply. Destinations particularly reliant on travel, like Hawaii, reported a 40% decrease in rental car supply during the pandemic. In some cases, some cavalier travelers rented U-Haul vans or trucks from home improvement stores to get to where they needed to go.
Like many other travel companies, Hertz was significantly impacted by the pandemic and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, but it has since exited. The company has also done work to attract new members to its loyalty program and retain existing members. Hertz announced this summer that it would give Five Star elite status to all new Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members and that current members would earn double points on all rentals through the end of the year.
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