Hertz publicly displayed their electrified rental ambitions yesterday in Times Square with an elaborate EV display that included models from Tesla, Coda, Nissan, Smart and Toyota. The big news…our very own New York will be the first roll-out market in a global company initiative that will see a flurry of EVs and PHEVs added to the Connect by Hertz global car sharing operation in the coming year. The airport rental giant is flexing its gigantic muscles (4,200 rental and 200 car sharing locations in 146 countries) in order to put some scale behind the effort, which will see hundreds of vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, added to the car sharing service well throughout 2011. The program kicks off on December 15th in New York with DC and San Francisco to follow.
Hertz, who says they are the first to provide EV and PHEV vehicles on a rental and car-sharing basis at this kind of scale, is prepping for a full-scale deployment in both the U.S. and other countries throughout 2011. Rental and car sharing locations will serve as bases for vehicles and charging stations, and tap into its technology – including fleet management tools and the consumer-facing NeverLost GPS system – to help form an EV grid. Hertz is also forming partnerships with charging station providers, municipalities, NGO’s, corporations and other stakeholders.
The program is a good idea on numerous fronts beyond the obvious first mover advantage Hertz will have over competitors who are not going green. Namely, that by utilizing Hertz’s already existing network, the brand has the ability to impact the face of our currently immature EV infrastructure in a real way, one charging station at a time. To sweeten the deal, Hertz is throwing in a 1 year memberships to their car sharing program for all those who sign up on hertzev.com between today and December 25th.