Imagine you walk up to a rental car counter, and the associate asks you: “Internal combustion or electric?” Would you want a Tesla rental? Decide soon, because that day is coming fast. Hertz just ordered 100,000 Tesla Model 3s. The shipment of best-selling Teslas will be the biggest order of rental EVs in history. Hertz is aiming for “the largest EV rental fleet in North America.”
The Hertz bankruptcy
Though the Hertz Corporation is over a hundred years old, the Covid pandemic almost ended its legacy. During the quarantine, everyone stopped traveling, and Hertz declared bankruptcy.
A group of new investors bailed Hertz out, to the tune of $5.9 billion. The new management is taking the old rental car company in a dramatically different direction. Interim CEO, Mark Fields said, “Electric vehicles are now mainstream.” He sees an electric future and promised, “The new Hertz is going to lead the way.” Hertz will be leading the way with an historic order of Tesla rental cars.
Would you want a Tesla rental?
Most drivers are curious about the electrification revolution. Many of them are interested in trying out an electric vehicle and are happy to rent it.
Hertz has long offered a few select Teslas among the exotic cars of its Dream Cars Collection. Enterprise, similarly, rents some Teslas through its Exotics division. In addition, teslas of all kinds are popular on the Turo app, which brands itself as Airbnb for cars.
The popular Model 3 may seem like the perfect Tesla rental car. This entry-level Tesla is currently the most American-made car. It will set a renter back less for fuel than a comparable internal combustion vehicle. It also offers a certain cool factor.
But will consumers want to rent an EV? A significant Achilles heel of current electric vehicles is how slowly they charge. A Tesla Model 3, for example, takes 28 hours to charge from 0% to 100%. The Model 3 may be an excellent vehicle for commuting but would be a major inconvenience on a road trip. Many people rent cars for road trips: on these occasions, a Tesla rental would be a no-go.
Will we see a Hertz special edition of the Tesla rental car?
Hertz is using the news of its huge Tesla rental car order as an opportunity to reinvent itself. The company even hired Tom Brady to film a short commercial. In the TV Spot, a customer finds Tom Brady plugged in and recharging alongside a row of Tesla Model 3s. The associate explains that he is having his “software updated.”
The order of 100,000 Model 3s is historic. Hertz’s Tesla contract is worth $4.2 billion. All told, it is the largest single order of rental EVs in history.
This is not the first time Hertz jumped on a trendy new sports car to improve business. When the first-generation Mustang was at peak popularity, Hertz contracted 1,001 special editions from Shelby. The black and gold GT350Hs all featured a 306 horsepower V8 and racing suspension. These legendary Hertz special-special edition Shelby Mustangs are now priceless collectors’ cars.
With the size of Hertz’s Tesla order, we hope Elon Musk includes some special H-code Model 3s. Who knows, maybe we’ll even be able to rent exclusive, tuned Teslas with the legendary black paint and gold stripes.