Top Tips for a Smooth Electric Car Rental Experience

PUBLISHED ON Jan, 29 2024

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Thinking of electric car rental? This hands-on guide cuts through the complexity, offering clear direction on selecting an EV that suits you, demystifying rental company policies, and explaining how to master EV charging and maximize your electric car rental’s value. Step into the world of electric mobility with confidence, as we arm you with essential tips for a smooth, cost-effective rental experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Match the EV to your needs, considering factors like battery range, comfort, and space. Remember, premium models like Teslas have unique systems and features.
  • Get to grips with rental policies, insurance options, and the availability of roadside support. Companies may require returning the car with a minimum charge and offer extra services.
  • Plan your charging strategy with apps like PlugShare and ChargePoint, and understand that charging speed and cost can vary widely depending on the charger type and location.

Choosing the Right Electric Vehicle for Your Needs

When it comes to renting an electric vehicle, one size doesn’t fit all. That’s why selecting an EV that aligns with your needs is of utmost importance. Whether it’s a compact Nissan Leaf or a futuristic Tesla Model, different electric cars come with different features and capabilities.

Renting an electric car offers a unique opportunity to get personal with battery-electric transportation. But remember, each model operates differently. A Tesla might have a non-intuitive system compared to conventional cars. Therefore, researching the car’s specific characteristics before opting for Tesla rentals is a smart move.

Assessing Battery Life and Range

The battery is the heart of an electric car, providing ample power for your journeys. Hence, getting a handle on the battery range is key to verifying if the electric vehicle fits your travel needs. Battery capacity varies significantly among EV models, from around 30 kWh in compact city cars to over 100 kWh in high-end models like Tesla, directly influencing the potential travel range.

However, bear in mind that factors like driving habits, use of auxiliary features like climate control, and extreme weather conditions can significantly impact the battery range. For long-distance travel, an EV with sufficient range, such as Tesla or Chevy Bolt EV, is recommended.

Comparing Models for Space and Comfort

Comfort and space are important factors to consider when renting an electric vehicle. With no engine rumble and vibration, EVs offer a smoother and quieter ride than traditional cars.

Moreover, safety features such as automatic emergency braking and advanced driver assistance systems in electric cars provide added comfort, especially if you’re traveling with family. Familiarizing yourself with the rental electric vehicle’s features and navigation system is also key for a comfortable drive.

Understanding Rental Car Companies’ EV Policies

A person using a mobile app to locate nearby electric vehicle charging stations

Understanding the policies of the rental car company is a crucial step when you rent an electric vehicle. For example, most companies require you to return the electric rental car with at least a 70 percent charge to avoid a surcharge.

Taking insurance coverage is also an important aspect to consider when renting an EV. While credit cards may offer damage or theft coverage for rentals, the inclusion of electric cars in this coverage is not guaranteed, and insurance costs could be higher.

Insurance Options and Coverage

All car rental companies offer basic insurance for all trips. The objective is to prevent a driver from traveling without insurance, something that is illegal, which is why companies include a basic policy that covers the basic assumptions. In the event of a situation that includes expenses greater than those insured, it will be the renter himself who must bear the costs incurred.

Getting the right insurance for your electric car rental can save you from potential headaches. The coverage on your personal auto policy often extends to rental vehicles, providing protection when the insured vehicle is under repair or declared a total loss.

However, keep in mind that costs like mileage, or optional insurance purchased from car rental companies, along with expenses incurred before claim completion, are generally not covered. Rental companies like Hertz offer additional services like the Premium Emergency Roadside Assistance, which extends financial liability coverage in emergencies beyond what personal auto policies cover.

To avoid situations in which you must pay for the consequences derived from an accident, at CarInsuRent we offer you the possibility of taking out very affordable insurance, which covers vehicles in all types of situations, both on national and international routes.

Our insurance is specially designed for rental services, which is why it covers you in the following cases:

  • Damage due to collision or vehicle theft
  • Theft of personal items
  • Vehicle delivery charges
  • Fuel errors

In these cases, and many more, the Rental Car Excess Insurance policy takes care of the payment up to a limit, which will depend on the policy contracted.

See How Much You Can Save on Your Car Rental Insurance

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Roadside Assistance and Support

Roadside assistance and support are crucial when renting an electric vehicle. Premium Emergency Roadside Assistance, for instance, can be added to a rental car reservation at the time of vehicle pickup, online, or through the Hertz mobile app, providing support in case of breakdowns.

Being prepared for potential issues with charging stations like malfunctioning equipment, payment problems, or a stuck charger is also vital.

Luckily, electric vehicles are generally more reliable for short-term use due to fewer moving parts, which decreases the chance of experiencing a breakdown while renting.

Mastering the Charging Game

An electric car being charged at a fast charging station

Charging an electric vehicle can be quite a task, especially for first-time renters. Charging an electric vehicle up to 80 percent of its battery capacity can achieve the fastest charging speeds, often taking just half an hour.

However, if you’re in areas with limited access to charging stations, charging an EV beyond the typical 80 percent threshold is advisable to ensure an additional range buffer.

Locating Charging Stations

Finding EV charging stations for your EV is not as daunting as it sounds, thanks to apps like PlugShare and ChargePoint. These apps offer comprehensive listings of over 140,000 charging stations and are popular among EV owners.

A clear understanding of the charging station infrastructure plays a pivotal role in planning for charging stops during road trips. Apps such as PlugShare not only assist in locating charging stations but also in incorporating them into your travel itinerary for smoother trip planning.

Charging Costs and Speed

Charging costs and speed can significantly vary depending on factors like location, time of day, and charger type. Here are some examples:

  • DC fast charging stations can charge an EV to 80% in as little as 20 minutes, ideal for road trips requiring quick refueling. However, not all electric vehicles can utilize DC fast charging.
  • Level 2 chargers typically add around 30 miles of range per hour and are more ubiquitous. These chargers can sometimes offer free charging or charge a fee around 20 cents per kWh.
  • DC fast chargers can cost between 30 to 48 cents per kWh.

Navigating the Urban Jungle vs. the Open Road

A city skyline with electric vehicle charging stations integrated into the urban environment

Renting an electric vehicle requires careful planning, especially when it comes to charging. The availability of charging options can vary greatly in urban versus remote environments.

A smooth rental experience hinges on the ability to locate EV chargers and understand route options. Whether you’re planning a business trip in the city or a vacation on the open road, an electric vehicle can make your journey more enjoyable and eco-friendly.

City Rentals: Convenience and Access

Renting an electric car in urban areas tends to be more convenient thanks to the greater density of charging infrastructure such as Level 2 chargers available in locations including parking garages, hotels, and malls.

For light city driving, maintaining a minimum of 10% battery can often be adequate. And to ensure a seamless driving experience, strategize your city routes to encompass destinations that are in proximity to public charging stations.

Road Trips: Planning and Patience

Road trips with an electric car require extra planning and patience. To ensure vehicle availability, particularly during high-demand periods, it is essential to book your electric vehicle rental in advance.

You might also want to:

  • Seek out promotions or incentives for electric vehicle rentals, as they may offer cost savings and additional benefits to enhance the trip.
  • Utilize apps like PlugShare to find charging stations along your route.
  • Check if your hotel provides EV charging to plan charging times effectively during your trip.

Enhancing Your Trip with Electric Perks

An electric car driving through a scenic route with lush greenery and clear skies

Renting an electric vehicle comes with its own set of perks. Aside from contributing to a cleaner environment, driving an electric car offers a unique and enjoyable experience.

From the tranquility of a quiet ride to the thrill of rapid acceleration, the benefits of driving an electric vehicle go beyond just being eco-friendly. So, are you ready to enhance your trip with these electric perks?

Enjoying the Quiet and Clean Drive

One of the best perks of driving an electric car is the quiet and clean drive it offers. Since EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, they contribute significantly to reducing air pollution and promoting cleaner air.

Moreover, the absence of engine noise in electric cars, which is due to the use of an electric motor, provides a tranquil driving experience, reducing stress levels for the driver and residents near busy roads by mitigating noise pollution.

Experiencing Instant Power and Fun

Driving an electric vehicle isn’t just about being eco-friendly; it’s also about having fun! Electric vehicles are equipped with innovative technologies that provide a high-performance driving experience, with powerful acceleration that rivals traditional sports cars.

Renters can experience the thrill of EVs’ rapid acceleration and dynamic handling, showcasing the fun and excitement inherent in electric vehicle technology.

Rent vs. Purchase Considerations

The decision to rent or purchase an electric vehicle hinges on several factors. Renting an electric vehicle offers a practical opportunity to sample electric driving and experience the EV lifestyle and its associated benefits, without the commitment of a full purchase.

However, despite potential lease savings, owning an EV eliminates restrictions on mileage, allows for vehicle customization, and enables owners to benefit from full tax credits and purchase incentives.

Trying Before Buying

Renting an EV provides a lengthier and more thorough driving experience than a traditional test drive at a dealership, allowing potential buyers to assess the car in various situations and over an extended period.

Through an extended test drive on platforms like Turo, customers can:

  • Immerse themselves fully in the EV lifestyle
  • Understand whether an electric vehicle suits their day-to-day needs and driving preferences
  • Make an informed decision before committing to a purchase.

Evaluating Cost-Benefit for Short-Term Use

When you rent an electric car, it can lead to short-term savings for drivers because of the lower costs associated with fueling and maintaining an EV compared to gas-powered cars.

For instance, the daily rental cost for a 2023 Polestar 2 at San Francisco International Airport was $86, demonstrating a specific price point for short-term EV rentals.

Summary

In conclusion, renting an electric vehicle offers a unique opportunity to experience the benefits of EV driving without the long-term commitment. From choosing the right EV for your needs to understanding rental car company policies, mastering the charging game, and enjoying the perks of a quiet and clean drive—all of these factors contribute to a smooth and enjoyable rental experience. Whether you’re planning a city commute or a road trip, an electric car rental can make your journey more enjoyable and eco-friendly. Happy travels!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is EV cheaper to drive?

Yes, driving an electric vehicle is often found to be cheaper than driving a gasoline-powered vehicle, with some showing a total ownership cost of up to 37% less. So, it can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

What are the benefits of renting an electric vehicle?

Renting an electric vehicle lets you experience the benefits of electric driving without committing to a purchase, including a quiet, clean ride and the excitement of rapid acceleration. So, it’s a great way to see if an electric vehicle is a good fit for you.

How can I locate charging stations for an electric vehicle?

You can use apps like PlugShare and ChargePoint to easily find charging stations for your electric vehicle. They provide comprehensive listings and can help you plan your travel with charging stops in mind.

What are the insurance options for electric car rentals?

You can typically rely on your personal auto policy for coverage when renting an electric car. Rental companies also offer extras like Premium Emergency Roadside Assistance for added financial liability coverage in case of emergencies.

What are the considerations when planning a road trip with an electric vehicle?

When planning a road trip with an electric vehicle, make sure to carefully plan your route and charging stops. Additionally, book your rental in advance to secure availability, especially during peak periods.

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