Hertz Electric Car Rentals Begin Today

Eying 2011 as the year that they bust into the mainstream, Hertz announced it will begin renting electric vehicles (EVs) in New York, Washington, DC, and San Francisco on December 15 through its Connect by Hertz car-share program, which currently lists rates up to $10/hour depending on which plan is chosen. Right now, the company said, customers can line up for EV reservations at Hertzev.com.

Smart got headline treatment from Hertz as it launched what it’s calling “Global EV,” but the company had already revealed that the Coda and Nissan Leaf would be available for rental in 2011. Hertz also announced this week that its EV fleet will be available at “key Starwood select-service hotels in North America.”

Hertz EV, electric vehicle rental, car share

image via Hertz

“By introducing EVs in New York, Washington and San Francisco, we’re the first to make tomorrow’s driving experience available to consumers today,” Hertz Chairman and CEO Mark P. Frissora said in a statement. “We look forward to continue building out our EV platform, making electric mobility a reality for consumers worldwide.”

Hertz is proving to be an enthusiastic backer of electric vehicles. Just last month, the company said it was getting behind the eVgo Network in Houston, committing to installing charging stations at rental locations and integrating eVgo into its NeverLost GPS system for the Nissan and Coda EVs it will rent there.

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Sports columnist, newspaper desk guy, website managing editor, wine-industry PR specialist, freelance writer—Pete Danko’s career in media has covered a lot of terrain. The constant along the way has been a fierce dedication to knowing the story and getting it right. Danko's work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • Expert Answer

    Just How Green is That Electric Car, Anyway?

    EVs are still coal-powered vehicles…

    With the push to reduce the carbon emissions from transportation, sometimes the newest developments, the latest technology, gets the spotlight. By putting more electric vehicles on the road though, are we really getting “greener” vehicles? A report by an independent UK transportation group, Transport Watch, may have some surprising information for electric car aficionados.
    If your electric vehicle is charged with electricity from a coal-fired power plant, as it will most likely be in the Philadelphia tri-state area, then the CO2 emissions to fuel your EV are about double the amount emitted by a standard engine, due to the inefficiencies in electrical power generation and transmission.
    According to Transport Watch, only about 30% of the energy generated by the power plant actually reaches the vehicle because of losses in the transmission route. Of the energy delivered to the vehicle, 20% is then lost to the batteries and electric motor. This means that most EVs are only about 24% efficient.
    Contrast that with a modern on-board engine, which achieves an efficiency of 35-40% on the fuel burned by the vehicle. Granted, the internal combustion engine does emit CO2 at the tailpipe, while an EV does not. However, the CO2 emitted by the EV is not seen at the curb, leading to the assumption that electric cars decrease CO2 emissions overall.
    In addition, consider the heavy metals used in the EV’s batteries. Consider just how much oil will be used to extract, refine, manufacture, and distribute these materials to battery factories. Think also that these metals are at present a “scarce” resource primarily coming mined countries that are at present antagonistic to the United States.

    In conclusion, although the EV touts its low emissions at the tail pipe, The Volt and other Ev’s, at present create more CO2 per mile than comparable combustion engines when all factors of production are examined.

    Now let us examine the $15,000 cost per charging station and the fact the each car is double the price of a similar standard model……… I think you get the idea.