Hertz Announces Electric Car Rentals

fromWNYC

Drivers in New York City can now rent electric vehicles. Rental car giant Hertz is giving the fledgling electric car market a boost by investing in vehicle charging infrastructure early. Within a year, the company plans to ramp up to 1,000 vehicles nationwide.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Okay. Now, our last word in business comes from Hertz. It's plug and rent, or rent and plug.

The rental car company just started offering electric cars. Now, this is only in Manhattan for the moment, but Hertz says it's the first phase of a broader rollout.

Alex Goldmark of member station WNYC reports.

ALEX GOLDMARK: Even in the bitter cold, Rich Broome is fired up about electric cars. The Hertz senior vice president sees a new charger here under an expensive midtown apartment building as symbolic.

Mr. RICH BROOME (Senior Vice President, Hertz): It's in places like this where the where the electric vehicle revolution starts.

GOLDMARK: Or restarts. Electric vehicles were briefly available for rent in the late '90s, but after that experiment failed, they're starting again from scratch, with just five electric cars.

Mr. BROOME: That's the most we could get our hands on before the end of the year. But by the end of 2011, we're going to have upwards of 1,000 EVs in our fleet.

GOLDMARK: For now, it's about gathering data. Curious potential buyers get to check out a new kind of ride, and Hertz gets to watch where people drive and, just as important, where they'll need charging stations.

Don Karner is watching, too. He heads ECOtality, a manufacturer of electric vehicle chargers and other energy products. He calls this a significant milestone.

Mr. DON KARNER (ECOtality): Like any new technology that comes out, you have to demonstrate its benefits, how it fits into people's lifestyle, and the numbers will come later.

GOLDMARK: At least 600 people have already told Hertz they want to rent an electric car.

For NPR News, I'm Alex Goldmark, in New York.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: Gosh, this program has been coming to you on electric power for 40 years. Okay, 30 years.

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DON GONYEA, host:

And I'm Don Gonyea.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.