13725Re: [future-fuels-and-vehicles] Is it harder than advertised to rent PHEVs around the US and the world?
- Jul 19, 2013A 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
> "....�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....
> 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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