Will Electric Vehicles Work for Your Rental Fleet?

First adopters will gain free publicity and a high rental rate. But with uncertain resale values, range issues and limited initial availability, the decision to acquire electric vehicles for your rental fleet is not to be taken lightly.

A Tesla Roadster meets a Mitsubishi i-MiEV outside the Eckhaus Fleet offices in Clovis, Calif.

Pure electric vehicles (or EVs) are becoming the latest rage in the auto rental industry. It seems a week does not go by without another announcement of a new EV launch. If you have been to the Car Rental Show in the past few years, you may have seen and test drove EV models available through Eckhaus Fleet, including ZAPs, Zenns and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

The first wave of electric cars is just reaching the market, and Hertz and Enterprise have announced they are adding EVs to their rental fleets. But is this the right time to add electric vehicles to your fleet?

The first step is to understand the market through the answers to these questions:

 

Why would you want to be an early adopter?

The Benefits of Green

Incorporating EVs into your fleet shows your commitment to being environmentally responsible. Enterprise and Hertz realize being green is good business. Far from being "tree huggers," these companies are bringing in more customers at a higher price point.

Corporations with green mandates will want to try out the electric car. They will want to rent them for presentations and conferences to show their commitment to a cleaner environment. Cities and states are also under similar mandates and they will want to try out the new technology as well. If you rent EVs, your business will be exposed to customers you might not normally do business with.

Eckhaus Fleet recently put the Mitsubishi i-MiEV through its paces for two weeks near our offices in Fresno, Calif. During that time we had more than 30 city officials, fleet managers and interested individuals who wanted to drive our test model.

Free Publicity!

Because Eckhaus Fleet had tested the i-MiEV locally, our company was featured on two local television newscasts and in the business section of the Fresno Bee. One electric car might pay for itself in free advertising if you are first to the market. If you wait and end up the third or fourth rental company in your area with an electric car, you will not get the same response as the first.

CONTINUED:  Will Electric Vehicles Work for Your Rental Fleet?
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