Nearly 200,000 Plug-in electric cars (EV) were registered in the UK in 2018, up from just 50,000 in 2015 representing nearly a 300% increase in just 4 years. That surge in demand was always going to level out and 2019 to date looks to be matching 2018 with peak registrations of 9,000 in March to coincide with the new UK registration plates (19). With demand for EV cars the highest of any sector in the automotive industry, why is that not translating into car rental fleets and why can’t you easily rent an EV car in the UK or elsewhere in the world?
Demand for EV Rental Cars
Whilst the drive for electrification in the automotive world is the future of the sector and many consumers are actively choosing EV cars, there are still a number of reasons why people are hesitant to make the change and that feeds into the EV car rental market. Range anxiety being the number one reason why people would avoid an EV rental car. Whilst infrastructure is improving exponentially and the range of current electric vehicles much greater than it once was, when you do run low on charge, where on earth do you re-charge an electric rental car if in rural Spain
or halfway along your Californian
In fact in 2017, both Enterprice and Hertz, the 2 largest car rental companies in the USA, confirmed that they were actively reducing their EV rental fleet due to lack of demand. Whilst customers were happy to ‘try’ an EV rental car, many were returned before the end of contract and swapped out for a petrol variant. Whilst feedback was generally positive of the overall experience, range anxiety and lack of understanding of how and where to re-charge meant many customers returned their EV rental car within its initial charge range in favour of petrol rental. Whilst the Nissan Leaf was the EV rental car of choice in the USA (Enterprise had over 500 vehicles across the USA), its EV rental fleet is now dominated by the Tesla Model S in its luxury / exotic speciality fleet, aimed at those customers who own or drive a Model S at home.
Hybrid Car Rental?
Hybrids have been around for what seems like forever with Toyota introducing the first mass market model, the still produced today Prius. It’s barely believable to think that the Prius was first launched in 1997 in Japan only, making its international debut in 2000 and has enjoyed a production run of over 20 years from its earliest release. Even today, it’s considered the second most environmentally friendly petrol-powered car in the US by the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB), second only to the much never Hyundai Ioniq ‘Blue’.
The Prius is actually the only hybrid model to make a regular appearance on car rental fleets the world over. Whilst availability is not guaranteed, most major airport locations like Heathrow
have Hybrid rental cars available.
Should we drive EV rental cars?
Never has the negative impact of human activity on the planet been more publicized and the internal combustion engine is a major contributor to greenhouse gases from a personal perspective. As individuals, our choice of car and mode of personal transport will make a significant impact on our personal footprint and whilst many of us are choosing an EV car for our every day lives, so few are demanding one when renting a car for holiday at home. We think that renting an EV in the UK or anywhere else in the world would be a great opportunity to get to grips with an EV and might be a driving force when you purchase your next vehicle.
One thing is for sure, as the UK and France (other countries certain to join soon) have pledged to ban the sale of conventional petrol and diesel engine cars by 2040, as all rental cars are new models you will soon have no option by to rent an EV or Hybrid rental car.
And if we don’t?
It’s well documented that greenhouse gases have a direct impact on the average temperature of the planet that is causing the polar ice caps to melt resulting in higher sea levels the world over putting many low-lying countries at risk. We covered the story as far back in 2011 and little has changed other than rising temperatures and sea levels, something has to change and fast. We can all make small steps in our everyday lives that combined will help and perhaps you should consider renting an EV rental car.
The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are melting faster than ever and faster than predicted according to new data about to be published in a journal later this week. At first glance the figures seem inconsequential, the effect of the melt is to have raised sea levels by 1.3 mm in the last year but when the numbers are multiplied up to show just what amount is melting that’s when it starts getting scary.
At the last accurate measure in 2006, 475 billion tonnes of ice was melting a year and raw data collected since shows that the amount is likely to have increased to nearly 600 billion last year with the rise expected to continue.
The effect of the new data is to force scientists to re-evaluate their predictions for the rise in sea levels by the year 2100. Already they are predicting a rise of nearly six inches by 2050 although not all of this comes from melt water. The rising temperature of the planet is causing the water to heat and expand adding further to ocean level rises. Fast forwarding the projections takes us to a predicted level 22 inches higher by 2100 but already other models are saying that this figure is woefully short of the likely actual level.
Their models show that countries like The Maldives are likely to have disappeared under the waves, whilst others such as Bangladesh, with a low seaboard are likely to experience severe flooding and loss of life and farmland. The data has been collected in a number of ways allowing for verification. The most intriguing way being the measurement by the twin Grace satellites which map rises through the changing gravitational pull of the earth.