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13725Re: [future-fuels-and-vehicles] Is it harder than advertised to rent PHEVs around the US and the world?

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  • MarketMole
    Jul 19, 2013
      A thought came to mind reading your post: do car rental companies make
      deals with car manufacturers to promote certain makes and models? Does
      driving a rental vehicle influence the eventual purchase of a vehicle?
      Would car mfg companies have influence over rental companies and what they
      offer? All questions that may have an impact on your query.

      I did a quick search around Portland PDX for renting an EV or Hybrid of any
      kind, something I would have thought would be a natural in this area.
      Couldn't find a one. This is like Prius central up here, but not for
      rentals it seems. I'll have to search a bit harder to see just how absent
      EVs really are in the rental space up here.


      On Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 10:57 AM, murdoch <murdoch@...>wrote:

      > **
      > bcc: various EV people and groups
      > Hi everyone:
      > I am located in Southern Arizona near Tucson. I have been very
      > frustrated in my attempts to rent a PHEV. I'm already a Leaf driver
      > and when I want to rent a car for longer drives and flexibility in
      > unknown territory, then what I really want is a PHEV.
      > I don't know why they're not offered in Southern Arizona, but I can't
      > seem to find a single rental agency willing to rent out (at any price)
      > a Volt or C-Max Energi or Fusion Energi or Prius Plug-in. Nothing.
      > Total strike-out.
      > Even when I recently went on a trip in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
      > I was not able efficiently to identify and rent a PHEV (and spent a
      > lot of time with agents on the phone checking various airports in the
      > region, including NYC).
      > Over the last few years we've seen promising-looking pitches like
      > this:
      > http://www.avis.com/car-rental/content/display.ac?contentId=volt-US_en-025575
      > "....�Volt is available at participating locations in CA, TX, MI, NY,
      > NJ, CT and DC. Quantities limited....."
      > However, in the end, in reality, I question if the rental agencies are
      > making a real effort to rent out these vehicles and build business in
      > this area. Is this greenwashing or do they believe in renting out
      > plug-in vehicles?
      > The additionally irksome part of this is that the reasons I hear back
      > from drivers and to some extent agencies do not ring true, and in
      > several ways sound similar to the disingenuous or mistaken excuses as
      > to why we didn't have PEVs in the late 90s:
      > - they're too expensive (nonsense - a Prius Plug-in and C-Max Energi
      > are not prohibitively more expensive than their HEV cousins, and even
      > the ~$40k Fusion Energi and Volt are expensive-but-not-that-expensive
      > compared to some of the vehicles I see rented out (including Mercedes,
      > large luxury SUVs, etc.)
      > - there's no demand. (really? how would they know this at those
      > agencies and in those vast regions where they've never tried (at all)
      > to rent them out? Sound familiar to anyone who followed the 1998-2003
      > era EV efforts?). Those assuming "lack of demand" usually then go on
      > to assume it must mean that drivers find them too expensive or too
      > complicated or don't care that much about gas prices, or whatever....
      > assumptions.
      > Note that as in California in 1998-2003, as now - I don't assume there
      > is huge demand - I simply say that where renting the vehicles hasn't
      > even been tried in a concerted and real way, then why assume nobody
      > wants them? I guess the rather extraordinary popularity of the Volt
      > amongst some drivers (and ratings places?) brings home that there
      > seems to be a disconnect going on - mightn't such a popular car be of
      > interest to some renters who have never driven it?
      > - some rental agents may get confused and think someone will get
      > stranded. There might be some confusion amongst some of the rental
      > agents as to the fact that BEVs can result in strandings but PHEVs are
      > the best answer to that issue and cannot experience a BEV type of
      > stranding for lack of battery charge.
      > - cost of L2 chargers and turnaround time (these just sound like
      > excuses to me - I'd be glad to rent out a half-charged Toyota PPI and
      > reserve it in advance if it takes a bit longer to prep).
      > Anyway, I'm wondering if others have had similar frustration in trying
      > to rent out PHEVs in certain regions. I realize they're probably
      > fairly easy to rent in some areas.

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