Rental giant Hertz replacing Teslas with gasoline cars

Originally published at: Hertz is ditching Tesla EVs


This article includes a chart comparing the repair costs of Teslas against other vehicles and they’ve been consistently higher for years. Not great for a rental company where minor accidents are probably a very normal part of the business.

Teslas may be among the worst, but lots of new cars can’t even take minor bumps without sustaining expensive damage. Maybe it’s time for the feds to bring back FMVSS 215, which between 1973 and the mid-'80s required car bumpers to have no significant damage in collisions at 5 mph or less.


When presented with the option of an electric car for rent I’ve always passed. Navigating in an unknown location with time restraints seems like an unnecessary risk dealing with a vehicle with short range. Perhaps adding to Hertz’s predicament are renters walking away like I have leaving electric cars on the lot making them less profitable.


Exactly. If I’m in an area where I need to rent a car versus driving one of my own cars (which are EVs), use public transportation, or use a carshare of some sort, the chance of me being able to use an EV for the rental are incredibly slim. When I’ve rented a car for many years, it’s always been to go into a somewhat remote location with limited charging infrastructure, better served by a gas car.

Would I like to see that changed, with more universal EV charging? Of course. Is that where things are today? No, no.


I"m not convinced new EVs are any more expensive to repair than other vehicles, given how much it costs just to replace brake pads on something like a Nissan. Not that it can’t be expensive, but more expensive is another question. It must also be weighed against the measurably MUCH lower ongoing maintenance costs (no oil changes, minimal other work per year).

Our 3 year old EV came (for slightly more $) with a 10 year all-in warranty so I guess I’ll start to worry in 7 years.


Yeah, I wonder. I suspect with rental cars getting a lot of mileage and wear-and-tear, EVs require fewer repairs, but the ones they do require are insanely expensive. Although we’re also talking about Teslas, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they needed more maintenance than they should, because they’re badly made.


One of my friends got nailed with the “tank not full” charge - you’ve got like 2 hours until your plane takes off, topping up the charge is impossible. If they really wanted to do EV’s they’d need to get rid of that… or at least make charging more feasible.


They expect you to return the EV with a full charge? Geeze, I would never rent one under those circumstances. I can’t think of an airport that doesn’t have a cluster of gas stations convenient for topping off ahead of returning a rental.


Hertz seems to have been playing around with the recharging policy on EVs.

When I rented one about a year ago (a nice Polestar 2 that I enjoyed driving and that was much cheaper to rent than any ICE car Hertz was offering), the policy was simply that you had to return it with at least a 10% charge. That worked great for me since the car had a nearly full charge when I took it out, and I only planned to drive it about 50 miles over a couple days. I returned it with like a 75% charge.

But it looks like the current policy is more similar to the traditional policy for ICE cars, where you either need to prepay for a charge/tank, or you’re expected to return it with the same level of charge that it had when you took it out. That doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable, but I would think they would provide a bit more leeway since the cars probably go out fully charged at most locations.

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I’ve shown up to rent an electric car from Hertz, they told me a had to wait an hour for it to charge.

It was a pain to charge. Since I don’t always rent an electric car, I need to download and register for electric charging stations.

Took the hit, and returned it below the charge I got it at. Rush hour was starting, I couldn’t be driving around looking for a charging station in bumper to bumper traffic.


Maintenance like changing brake pads or oil is not the same thing as a repair. I have no trouble believing that routine maintenance for gasoline cars is higher than routine maintenance for Teslas. But the front of a Tesla has a ton of sensors, cameras and whatnot integrated into a large body panel, so I can easily believe that fixing that after a minor collision would cost more than for many other models.

This is one report that has data comparing repair costs between types of vehicles:


It would be interesting to know whether this is just Tesla, or EVs from car companies as well. Since EVs are mechanically simpler, you’d think they’d be cheaper to maintain, except for battery replacement and perhaps teething troubles.

But Tesla isn’t only new to making EVs, they’re also new to axles, power windows, body panels, wipers and every other part of making a car. And there’s a big difference between making a thing, and making it so it can be efficiently serviced by a local mechanic. My suspicion is that Tesla has focused on getting cars out the door, and the designs are the sort of thing where you have to remove the chassis to replace the dome lights.

It’s obvious the current EV honeymoon is ending anyway, but it would be a real shame if Teslas turn out to be such turkeys in the long run that the momentum for EVs generally is stalled. Hopefully we’re just about past that tipping point.


They dumped Polestars too.


i was told a few years ago that one reason for insurance premium increases was the ever larger amounts of electronic gubbins stuffed behind them by manufacturers as cars got more and more electronic and there was nowhere left to put them. Any fender bender thus had vastly increased repair costs.

I suspect car design has moved on a bit and electronics are more ‘built in’, but bumpers have long since ceased to be proper bumpers (e.g. as Parisians use them).


It says a lot about the cut-throat car rental market that they need to turn the vehicles around so fast that they don’t even have time to let them top up the charge at the rental office. Or maybe the rental companies can’t even afford to install their own chargers.

I don’t think it is accurate to say that hertz is “dumping” their inventory. 2-3 years is pretty much the life span for a fleet car, ICE or EV.


just that they are apparently not buying new EVs to replace them.


When I flew into Chicago last year the Midway airport’s car rental hub was located outside of the airport in what was basically a multilevel car parking tower. I’m not sure it would be possible to run the necessary power into the tower to supply the individual rental companies their own EV charging station on their level of the tower. There really wasn’t a lot of space around the tower as it took up most of the block. Other than modifying the ground level I don’t see how it would have been possible to charge an EV on site.

Characterize it as you will, but here are two quotes from the Hertz CEO from one of the stories:

So it sure seems like the company is characterizing it as a change in their strategy rather than routine replacement of worn out vehicles.


I am not surprised.