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A Green Development for Car Hire?

[ 0 ] 13/09/2010 |

Green-CarTwo of America’s largest car rental companies have announced that from the beginning of January they are introducing electric cars to their range of vehicles on offer. This will be ideal for economically conscious drivers who desire to have a greener way of life.

North America’s largest car rental firm, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, unveiled last week that they will be using the Nissan Leaf all-electric cars in their Los Angeles base. This comes after Hertz, the world’s largest car rental company, gave a statement a few months previously saying that were planning to bring the Nissan Leaf to destinations around the USA and Europe. These will include such popular tourist spots as Washington, San Francisco and New York.

As two of the most popular car hire companies begin to develop their electric range and offer a greener way of travel, this indicates a spark and change in car travel and rental businesses. Both companies already are using the hybrid models, Toyota Prius, within their range and the shift into offering all-electric vehicles indicates a green development which fits with present people’s consciousness regarding the state of the planet.

Despite this optimistic green trend which both influential companies are showing, there are still a few hiccups which both Hertz and Enterprise Rent-A-Car are yet to answer. As the price for electric cars will be higher than gas-burning vehicles, there may be less of an incentive to hire the greener option. Whilst no exact prices have been made, there have also been no statements regarding the price comparisons. The only enlightenment on the subject is when Lee Broughton, director of sustainability for Enterprise, stated that “the details are still being worked out”.

Alongside the higher price of the electric cars, there are also a few other problems which are being ironed out. If you rent a car and return the vehicle with a depleted battery, the customer will have to pay a fixed penalty. This may put people off the electric car due to the hassle and extra costs. There are also problems for the customer when it comes to recharging a vehicle due to the high amount of time it takes. For a Nissan Leaf, the battery must be charged for eight hours at a charging station or twenty hours from a home outlet. Also if a car does not come back completely charged (due to travellers running out of time), the car will be out of service whilst the rental company charge it themselves; making it late and unavailable for the next customer.

Whilst this electric development may suit people who are adamant about making the planet greener, the companies may have problems shifting the average customer away from the normal gas burning cars on offer.   The higher price, fines which could occur and timely electric charge-ups could mean that efficiency and cheap costs will win the day over an electric greener way of travel.

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Category: Car Hire News

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