Hertz to Offer Smart EVs in Three Key U.S. Rental and Car-Sharing FleetsBy John O'Dell December 6, 2010
Hertz Corp., which intends to offer battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to rental customers worldwide and already has announced plans to acquire vehicles from Nissan, General Motors, Toyota and California start-up Coda, added the Smart electric city car to its list this morning and laid out its initial Smart launch program.
The company said it will offer the Smart ED (electric drive) in its rental fleets and Connect by Hertz car-sharing programs in New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C., starting Dec. 15 with its Connect by Hertz operation in New York.
Hertz has started a subsidiary, Hertz Global EV, to run its electric-drive programs and provide battery charging stations at Hertz EV rental locations around the world.
The Smart EVs will be available at Hertz locations all through 2011 - a year before the company begins series production for the retail market in the U.S.
Rival Enterprise also has said it will offer electric-drive vehicles in its rental fleets, an other car rental companies are expected to follow suit.
EV manufacturers are excited about such programs because getting their cars into rental fleets not only gives them early sales, it provides a marketing opportunity as more people are exposed to the cars than might see them in dealerships.