Enterprise Expands EV Rental Inventory

By AutoObserver Staff November 2, 2011

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Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the largest U.S. car-rental company, has almost doubled the number of its California electric-vehicle rental locations in an effort to give more customers a chance to drive Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicles and Chevrolet Volt (above) plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Enterprise said that electric-drive vehicles now are available at its Encino, Newport Beach, Palm Springs, Riverside and Santa Barbara locations, giving it a total of 11 California EV rental stores. The company, which started renting electric-drive vehicles in January, also offers them at its locations in Ontario, Pasadena, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Monica and Thousand Oaks. The company said it operates the largest fleet of electric-drive rentals in the state.

With the new locations, the number of rental Volts and Leafs in the Enterprise fleet will increase to about 180 vehicles in 24 locations nationally. About a third of the rental EVs are in California, said Enterprise spokeswoman Lisa Martini. She declined to disclose the Leaf-Volt vehicle breakdown. The cars rent for about $65 a day, come fully charged, and Enterprise doesn't impose a refueling fee if the car is returned with less than a full charge. Enterprise didn't say how California demand would impact further expansion of its locations offering electric-drive vehicles, though the company has said it will be add the vehicles to some Florida and Arizona locations during the next few weeks. Leafs and Volts are already available at Enterprise locations in Hawaii, Seattle, Portland, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Tennessee as well as in California. Future expansion of the company’s EV rental fleet expansion will depend on the state of the charging infrastructure of individual markets, Martini said.

Closely-held Enterprise said in July 2010 that it eventually would purchase 500 Leaf EVs, and last fall said it would add as many as 100 battery-electric Coda Sedans to its fleet. Competitor Hertz Corp. also said last year that it would purchase Nissan Leafs, Chevrolet Volts, Coda Sedans and electric-powered Smart ForTwo vehicles for its fleet.

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