Hertz and General Motors have announced a significant partnership that will send up to 175,000 electric vehicles into rental fleets across the country. The deal will unfold over the next five years and include vehicles from all GM brands.
The partnership will run through 2027. Hertz estimates that the electric fleet can save as many as 8 billion gasoline-powered miles, removing 3.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions from the air. Hertz says it will invest in becoming the largest renter of EVs in North America and notes that it already has tens of thousands available at 500 locations in 38 states. By the end of 2024, it plans to electrify a quarter of its fleet.
Electric rental cars are a great way for travelers wanting to avoid gas, and they make excellent urban commuter cars. Hertz will also likely save a few dollars by avoiding oil changes and other routine maintenance that gas engines need.
However, a hidden societal benefit of this deal may come when Hertz’s EV rental customers begin shopping for new cars. Many people are skeptical of EVs for various reasons, including range, charging, ease of operation, and cost. Giving people a low-risk introduction to EVs and the ability to test-drive one without a pressuring salesperson could drive more people to electrics.
At the same time, there's also the risk that renters wanting to take their Hertz-GM EV on a road trip into sparsely populated areas may return with charging and range-related horror stories. Hertz currently doesn’t ask what you’re planning to do with your rental, but it does offer a chat service for questions, and range information is presented clearly on each vehicle.