While leasing currently seems to be the most popular option when it comes to acquiring an electric vehicle, for those who don’t want that kind of commitment or don’t always need a car, some well-established rent-a-car companies are also offering shorter-term stints. Both Enterprise and Hertz have introduced EV programs, though one is having significantly more success than the other.
Hertz says that for corporate customers, the idea of renting EVs for short-distance journeys is a good way to promote sustainability for these organizations, as well as give its staff a chance to try out EVs to see whether or not they would be suitable for leasing on a longer-term basis. Currently the company has a small fleet of 50 EVs, though it said that if manufacturers could produce them, it could add 2,000-3,000 additional units.
Enterprise, by contrast, has been struggling to gain interest for its fleet of all-electric Nissan Leafs since first introducing them in 2010. Due to tepid consumer response, it has initiated a plan dubbed “EcoCurious,” targeting Leaf rentals at environmentally conscious Generation X and Y members living in largely urban centers.
Lee Broughton, head of corporate sustainability for Enterprise Holdings, believes that by targeting such customers, the company will be able to reach out to “early adopters,” people who understand the benefits of conserving energy and utilizing the latest in technology.
“They are really into smart decisions from a technology and efficiency perspective,” he said.
Dubbing the initiative as a “personal mobility petri dish,” Broughton believes that by tapping into a new demographic, as well as new marketing campaign this fall that will target short-term rentals (for a few hours instead of a few days), in urban centers such as Austin, Nashville, New York and Phoenix, Enterprise could finally give its EV fleet the traction it needs.