Rental car companies are flocking to EVs for significantly reduced maintenance costs. After all, EVs have fewer moving parts allowing owners to skimp out on regular oil changes. The potential cost savings, projected at half the total cost of ownership (TCO) of gas guzzlers, has made the move to EVs a no-brainer for rental companies and, unsurprisingly, led to an increasingly large percentage of car rental fleets containing EV cars. By some estimates, close to 10% of Hertz’s fleet is comprised of EVs, with the company dedicated to growing that number.
Car manufacturers are also on the march to hit aggressive EPA goals, shifting large amounts of focus to releasing a new breed of EV vehicles. This combination of aggressive EV rollout, car rental companies seeing long-term savings on EVs, and Car Rental companies roll as one the top buyers of new US cars has introduced the unexpected phenomenon of the “EV rental car surprise.”
The EV surprise, or more commonly EV fright, is when you show up to rent or pick up a rental only to discover you have one choice, an EV, and that EV is about to become your first introduction to driving with no plan or playbook. Here you are in a fancy new vehicle thrown into an uncanny adventure, a scavenger hunt for good local charging infrastructure.
Surprise! Your car’s charging network is crucial for your short-term or weekly car usage and is not yet prepared to meet your needs. Here are five things to know before renting an EV 🔗 Good luck!
A 🔗 YouTuber, Marques Brownlee demonstrates here; it’s very easy for anxious new renters and owners to encounter unexpected problems. Chargers support different standards, the cost per kilowatt is confusing, and it’s easy to end up with a bad charger that could take hours to get you a few extra miles.
It’s easy to point the blame on these EV charging providers like Electrify America and ChargePoint. These networks have struggled to build and maintain a reliable network that can compete with Tesla’s supercharger network. Customers frequently express dissatisfaction with malfunctioning chargers, user-unfriendly interfaces, compulsory account creation, and charge speeds significantly slower than advertised. These issues reached such a boiling point that both Ford and GM have reached pacts to make Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) the default in 2024.
It becomes obvious that just as a cell phone is only as good as its network, our cars are only as good as the charging network. This change, this disruption that some seem to want to hold out against, is amongst us. EV is the better vehicle. What needs to adapt quickly is the network we use to support these devices, and we need to realize that, increasingly EV drivers are not necessarily owners seeking subscriptions or looking for long-term charging relationships.
These users, these renters, are at the destinations we cherish most. They’re at our hotel chains, parking lots, condos, apartment complexes, retail shopping, aquariums, and visiting our homes. Can you imagine pulling into a hotel after hours of driving to find that they lack EV chargers?
As I’ve experienced with so many technology revolutions, change happens slowly and then all at once. That blip of all at once is much closer than we realize, and from the look of things, many well-positioned companies stand to miss out on the benefits of being first and providing the oasis owners and car renters alike will increasingly be searching for.
Hope you enjoy your next vacation and good luck with the EV surprise.
⚡🔋 We want to hear from you! Do you own an electric vehicle? If so, what made you switch to an electric vehicle? Share your top reason for switching or your experience charging on the road! 🚗💨
Meta surprised us and dropped Threads early; it’s a new entry into the Fediverse. If you followed last week’s newsletter, you know that Threads competes directly with Twitter and will support the ActivityPub protocol allowing users to access Mastodon and other networks that make up the Fediverse. If you signup, look for me as I kick the tires at @email@example.com.
Elon Musk vs. Mark Zuckerberg in the world of MMA. While Elon is elevating his skills by training with renowned fighters like three-time UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre and John Danaher, Zuckerberg, a beginner in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, impressively secured gold and silver medals in his first tournament. Both are newcomers to the MMA scene, but Zuckerberg is one step ahead with his recent gold medal achievement. Who do you think will dominate this cage match if and when it happens?
Let me know in the comments who would you put money on! 🥊
🔗 More links to tech & things:
- Electrify America is supporting Tesla’s NACS EV charging plug
- Stealth startup Humane announces its AI Pin
- Google reminds everyone that it’s scrapping everything for AI