Gas prices are high, folks are traveling for the summer, and EVs are spreading like wildfire. These three points mean more folks than ever before are trying electric cars for the first time. But since buying a new car is so difficult right now, car rentals are booming. Here’s what you need to know about renting an electric car for the first time.
Can you rent an electric car?
According to Cars.com, Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise offer rental electric cars and SUVs. The options are usually Tesla Model 3 sedans or Model Y SUVs, but sometimes a Polestar 2, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, or Kia Niro EV.
Some apps like Turo allow peer-to-peer rentals for a much wider selection of electric cars.
As exciting as electric cars can be, landing in a new city and getting into an electric rental car might come with some anxieties. The learning curve for EVs isn’t steep, but it does require some extra thought.
Make a plan for renting an electric car
One of the best ways to enjoy your time with an electric rental car is by making a plan for how you want to use it. Electric car life looks pretty different between those using it to commute or for long road trips. As such, you need to be prepared for those differences.
Although range distances are improving, you still need a car charging plan. This goes double for rentals since you won’t likely be at your home. Once you determine how you will use your electric car rental, then you can figure out when you need to plan for charging.
Find the electric rental car’s range first
Like most modern gas-powered cars, electric cars display the estimated range. This is a key piece of information and should be found in the menu and kept visible at all times. Most EVs will have this information displayed prominently, but it is still key to make a point to find it and keep your eye on it.
Make sure you know how to operate an electric car before taking off
There is nothing fundamentally different about electric cars and the way they work. Well, hang on. I guess that isn’t really true, is it? What I mean is acceleration, steering, braking, and opening and closing doors. These controls don’t have to change, but given the massive shift in the car market and design, many new electric car makers are changing many things.
For instance, almost nothing on a Tesla works like other cars. The doors open; differently, the radio is controlled differently, the mirrors are adjusted differently…. And on and on it goes.
It would behoove you to familiarize yourself with these cars before renting and certainly before driving.
Find electric car chargers
This is the most important step. If you don’t do anything else from this list, do this. Before you take off, have a plan for when and where you will charge your car. The best way to guarantee a bad time is to run out of charge. Don’t be the fool who let’s this happen to them on vacation.
There are a number of apps, like PlugShare, that will show a map of nearby chargers. You can also call your hotel and see if they have charging stations for guests. If you are traveling a long way, make a plan for not only where you will charge but also for the amount of time it will take. Doing this step guarantees you won’t be stuck in Demoines, Iowa, for 5 hours when you could have stopped earlier, somewhere more fun.
Plan, plan, and plan. That is the key to enjoying an electric rental car.