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Like a lot of people, you may not be willing to take the plunge and buy an electric car. But now, you can rent one from Hertz.
It was announced recently that Hertz Corp. and Smart USA are joining forces to bring the all-electric version of the Fortwo mini to Connect by Hertz car sharing and Hertz Rent A Car locations in New York, Washington, DC, and San Francisco.
Starting December 15, you’ll be able to rent the Smart Fortwo in New York City through Hertz’s car sharing program, followed shortly by San Francisco and Washington DC. More cities will be added later next year. The Hertz Global EV program will offer a variety of electric and plug-in hybrids, including the Chevy Volt and Mitsubishi i-MiEV, to car sharing and rental customers.
Hertz has plans to employ a fleet of 2011 Fortwo electric drive vehicles across the United States, hoping to target early adopters of electric drive technology before series production begins in 2012 and as the car goes on sale through Smart USA’s dealer network.
Are company cars destined to be a relic of the past? Probably not, but companies are begging to adopt a new kind of corporate vehicle, one that can be paid for by the hour and operated by Hertz or Zipcar, two of the biggest names in auto-sharing programs.
An article in the New York Times focuses on Hertz’s Connect by Hertz program, as well as Zipcar, which are seeing an increasing number of corporate clients. Employees can use the cars for anything from sales calls to grocery shopping, and the cost savings are substantial. One Boston area firm cut costs from $43,000 per employee to $6,500, just by switching from a livery car service to Zipcar.
At a cost of only $5 per hour to the employees, which includes parking, gas and insurance, car-sharing looks like a no brainer, even if the fleet is heavily skewed to the Toyota Prius and other less than exciting vehicles.
[Source: New York Times]
Starting in 2011, Hertz will add the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle to its fleet, after the car is released to the general public in late 2010. “We expect to have the car available in select American cities next year,” Hertz Spokeswoman Paula Rivera told the New York Times. “We’re in the process of finalizing the list.”
Rivera also said that areas where demand for an EV is high, such as California, could get priority allocation of the Leaf. “Realistically, we look at high-demand location — where the consumer base is asking for them,” Rivera said. ”When we introduced the Toyota Prius, California was one of the hot locations, and we’re anticipating something similar with the Leaf.”
The Leaf may also appear at Connect by Hertz car-charing locations in some major cities. Connect operates in places like New York, Boston, Washington D.C., London, Paris, Madrid and Berlin, all major urban centers that are ideal for an electric vehicle. Rival firm Zipcar has already introduced plug-in vehicles to its London fleet.
[Source: New York Times]