Under 20% of Travelers Occasionally Rent Electric Vehicles

Hertz electric rental cars are lined up at charging stations near Los Angeles International Airport as they are turned around for customers.

Photo: Martin Romjue / Bobit

The rental car industry stands as the frontier of electric vehicle adoption where it provides a comparatively safer and convenient way for drivers to try out EVs and gain a first exposure.

But that still proves challenging given Hertz’s pivotal decision to sell off one-third of its electric vehicle fleet due to customer avoidance, EV charging access, and higher maintenance costs.

In its latest survey, BCD, a travel management service, asked business travelers across the world about their findings around booking rental cars and following their company’s car rental policies.

The statistics on EV rental usage reveal 81% of rental car customers never rent an EV; 64% cite either complex logistics (charging access) or lack of comfort driving an EV as reasons for not renting one; and among those who do rent EVs, almost half cite either familiarity with EVs as owners or wanting to try them out as main reasons.

Renting EVs:

Just under two in 10 business travelers rent electric vehicles from time to time, and only 1% always select electric cars.

  • 81%: Never
  • 13%: Rarely
  • 5%: Sometimes
  • 1%: Always

Reasons for Not Renting EVs:

Complex logistics, short range, and low availability are among the most noted reasons for not renting electric vehicles.

  • Complex logistics, e.g. locating recharging stations: 46%
  • Low availability at the car rental location: 35%
  • Short range of electric cars and need for frequent charging: 18%
  • Higher rental cost: 18%
  • I am not comfortable driving an electric car: 18%
  • My company’s policy doesn’t include renting electric cars: 12%
  • Other, e.g. not offered, not within policy: 9%
  • Don’t know: 5%

Reasons for Renting EVs:

Travelers who rent electric vehicles are influenced by environmental factors, their desire to try something new, or wide availability at the car rental supplier.

  • 51%: Lower environmental impact
  • 29%: I want to try an electric car
  • 27%: Other, e.g. the only option available, allocated by supplier
  • 24%: Wide availability at the car rental location
  • 20%: I own an electric car and know how it works
  • 18%: My employer encourages me to rent electric cars
  • 12%: Cheaper charging
  • 10%: Lower price
  • 4%: I am more comfortable driving an electric car
  • 4%: Don’t know

Access full survey report: Report: Car rental survey – BCD Travel

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