These Rental Car Companies Are Helping Travelers Try Electric Vehicles Before They Buy

If you’re not sure you’re ready to own an EV, a road trip in a rental might be just the thing.

<p>Courtesy of EVgo Services LLC</p> EVgo electric vehicle charging station

Courtesy of EVgo Services LLC

EVgo electric vehicle charging station

Intrigued by the idea of driving an electric vehicle? Your next vacation could be the perfect opportunity to take some battery-powered wheels for a spin. Hertz has committed to making one-quarter of its fleet electric by the end of 2024. Today, their customers can choose models from General Motors, Polestar, and Tesla—and first-timers shouldn’t feel intimidated in making the switch, says Laura Smith, an executive vice president at the company. “Our online hub has a lot of videos, as well as just great info, on these vehicles,” she says.

In addition to being environmentally friendly, many EVs offer great performance and features, says Jonathan Levy, the chief commercial officer of EVgo, which operates a nationwide network of 900 chargers. “The acceleration you get is amazing,” Levy notes. “It’s pure go.” EVs, he adds, are often quieter and offer a smoother ride than internal-combustion cars.

Renters can also find EVs on Turo, a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform that’s like the Airbnb of autos. (Turo and the publisher of T+L, Dotdash Meredith, share common ownership.) By the end of last year, more than 22,000 of the autos on Turo were electrics, says Albert Mangahas, the company’s chief data officer.

Zevo, which launched in 2021, is an EVs-only listings site. Zevo CEO and founder Hebron Sher says the strategy is all about the future: “Nine out of ten vehicle manufacturers have said that they’re going all electric eventually,” he notes.

Common concerns for renters mirror those of owners, with “range anxiety,” or concerns about running out of power, topping the list. Specialized apps, like EVgo’s, help drivers identify charging stations along a given route.

Hotels not only make for great charging stops but are also a good source of intel, notes Andrew Stembridge, the executive director of Iconic Luxury Hotels, which offers charging at three of its five properties in the U.K. “Three years ago, we got maybe one electric car a day. Now I look and every single one of our chargers is being used,” he says. Another resource that shouldn’t be overlooked is a clued-in concierge, Stembridge adds. “Our team’s knowledge of charge points across the U.K. is encyclopedic.”

A version of this story first appeared in the July 2023 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline "Try Before You Buy."

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