Hertz, Looking to Get Renters into EVs, Is Offering Summer Deals
  • When you start buying up tens of thousands of electric vehicles, you may have more on hand than renters want.
  • Hertz is doing what it can to encourage its renters to ask for one of the many EVs in its fleet, with discounted prices and free rental days through the end of the summer.
  • If you rent an EV for at least two days by September 6, for example, you’ll get a free rental day. Hertz is also offering a separate 30 percent discount on EV rentals until the end of August.

As part of a massive investment in electric vehicles, Hertz announced earlier this year that it has more than 50,000 EVs in its fleet. That’s about 10 percent of the rental car company’s fleet, and it’s not done yet. In fact, Hertz might have so many EVs that you could rent one without warning.

The rental company’s shift to EVs is making itself felt in both big and small ways. The fact that Hertz has already announced plans that call for over 340,000 EVs by 2027 is a big one, one that includes orders for 100,000 vehicles from Tesla, 65,000 from Polestar, and 175,000 from GM.

Hertz’s growing EV numbers filter down to smaller announcements like “Hertz Electrifies Orlando,” which will bring 6,000 of those EVs and 50 DC fast-charging stations to the Florida city. The company’s recent press announcements are full of similar announcements for places including Houston, Denver, and Atlanta. Recent Hertz ads have featured football star and EV driver Tom Brady and comedian Yvonne Orji talking up EV rentals.

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Surprise EV Rentals

Hertz’s strong EV progress has both fans and detractors. When Hertz handed a writer for The Atlantic the keys to an all-electric Chevy Bolt EV as a “manager’s special” without any warning—that is, the writer expected to get a gas car for their road trip, not an EV—it spelled unwanted trouble for someone new to EVs and unfamiliar with the charging process. When we checked Hertz’s rental website, we found that the Manager’s Special entry now discloses that the car you get may be electric.

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Hertz is showing ambition in other ways when it comes to EV rentals. Some data from its connected EV fleet is being shared with city planners as they decide where to install charging infrastructure as part of what Hertz calls its Charging Opportunity Index. Hertz is also donating EVs to high school and community college auto programs so students can get hands-on experience with EVs.

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Hertz says it is trying to give renters the tools they need to drive away happy in a plug-in model. If you actually request an EV, you’ll get a link emailed to you for an online EV guide. Hertz is also updating the keychains for its EVs to include a QR code that links to the guide. Other rental car companies, including Avis and Enterprise, also have EVs available, but not as many.

Hertz of course would like to rent out its large and growing EV fleet to people who know what they’re getting into. The company has multiple promotions happening this summer for EV drivers. If you rent an EV for at least two days by September 6, for example, you’ll get a free rental day. Hertz is also offering a separate “up to 30 percent” discount on EV rentals until the end of August. That’s the kind of non-surprise deal that could bring people to the rental counter ready to drive away in an electric vehicle.

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Headshot of Sebastian Blanco

Contributing Editor

Sebastian Blanco has been writing about electric vehicles, hybrids, and hydrogen cars since 2006. His articles and car reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Automotive News, Reuters, SAE, Autoblog, InsideEVs, Trucks.com, Car Talk, and other outlets. His first green-car media event was the launch of the Tesla Roadster, and since then he has been tracking the shift away from gasoline-powered vehicles and discovering the new technology’s importance not just for the auto industry, but for the world as a whole. Throw in the recent shift to autonomous vehicles, and there are more interesting changes happening now than most people can wrap their heads around. You can find him on Twitter or, on good days, behind the wheel of a new EV.