Rental Car Companies Push Electric Vehicles onto Customers

Rental Car Companies Push Electric Vehicles onto Customers

September 19, 2023

The green movement has no boundaries when pushing policies onto consumers. Now, rental car companies are pushing electric vehicles (EVs) onto consumers, sometimes forcing them to use EVs when they run out of gas-powered cars—leaving consumers frustrated and sometimes stranded. 

The Wall Street Journal reports,  

“Anne-Marie Angelo reserved an intermediate car from Budget Rent A Car for a one-way drive from Virginia Beach, Va., to Dulles International Airport with her 79-year-old mother in January. The rental agency didn’t have her car or much else, so it assigned her a “specialty” Kia. The Kia Niro she got is an EV, which no one at the counter mentioned, the history professor says. Despite getting charged overnight, the battery drained quickly. With at least 70 miles to go on the drive, the range flashed 30 miles. She had to hunt for a charging station so it didn’t die on I-95 in cold weather. The first location, a gas station listed in a crowdsourced app, didn’t have one. Budget roadside assistance said they couldn’t help because they don’t have mobile charging units, she says. By the time she found one at a car dealership, she had to move their late flight to London and pay for a hotel. “Normally I can get from home to Dulles on one tank of gas,” she says. “I don’t plan for random stops in weird places.”

It seems consumers only take EVs as a last resort when gas-powered cars are unavailable. Consumers have noticed even the nicest EVs sit idly by in the rental car parking lots. 

“Mark Nielson, an infrastructure development consultant in Foster City, Calif., is in the top tier of Hertz’s loyalty program. When he landed in Chicago in May, he says he found several Ford Mustang Mach-Es. He passed because he was driving to Cincinnati and logging hundreds of miles after that and didn’t want any charging hassles. “You could see people liked the Mustang and as soon as they saw it was electric, they moved on to something else,” he says.”

This is another great example of how unreliable electric vehicles are when traveling. Consumers should not be forced into using cars that cannot reliably get them where they need to go. As we’ve seen, EVs do little to change the environment but can do a lot to add frustration to your travels.