If EVs can work in rental automotive fleets, they will work wherever •

I rented a Tesla throughout the vacation crush. AMA

After I went to guide a rental automotive for Thanksgiving a number of months in the past, all that Hertz had left at O’Hare Worldwide Airport have been Teslas. Normally, I find yourself with one thing like a Nissan Altima — not a tremendous automotive, however one which will get the job accomplished. Cheaply. However not this time.

Hertz is within the strategy of including 100,000 Teslas to its rental fleet, so it was statistically possible that in the future I’d find yourself renting one. I’m definitely of their goal demo — all of our automobiles over the past seven-plus years have had a plug, and whereas none of them have been Teslas, I’m what you would possibly name Tesla-curious. Other than a take a look at drive of a Mannequin Y a few years in the past, I’d by no means pushed one for an prolonged time period.

What the heck, I assumed. Let’s go for it.

Although I’m removed from an EV novice, I nonetheless wasn’t certain about renting an EV. I do the overwhelming majority of my charging at residence, and I’m acquainted sufficient with my autos to know their real-world vary and the way the climate will have an effect on it. I don’t have that very same familiarity with the Mannequin 3, and I wouldn’t have something greater than a 120v outlet at my mother and father’ home, which is 2 hours from the airport.

However I’ve obtained a weak spot for brand new expertise and new methods of experiencing it, particularly on the subject of electrification. Right here went nothing.

The way it went

After we picked up the automotive on the airport, I used to be directed to the kiosk, the place a pleasant Hertz rep behind the counter defined that she needed to give me a spiel, the identical one she provides to all Tesla renters. She requested if I had any questions, and I informed her that whereas I didn’t personal a Tesla, I used to be acquainted sufficient with EVs that I used to be assured I’d get by.

One distinction she identified was that rather than the same old supply to pre-pay for a tank of fuel, there was an choice to position a $35 deposit in case I wasn’t capable of return the automotive greater than 70% charged. If I used to be capable of cost it earlier than returning it, the $35 would return on my bank card. Appeared like an affordable supply, so I took her up on it.

In our dialog, she talked about that Hertz’s O’Hare fleet was largely being changed with Teslas. Ah, in order that’s why solely Teslas remained.

We discovered the automotive, obtained the youngsters located, adjusted the mirrors and steering wheel (no small feat), and headed out. Anybody who’s pushed an EV is hooked on immediate torque, and the Mannequin 3 has it in spades. The twitchy accelerator pedal jogged my memory of our previous BMW i3 — in a great way — as did the one-pedal driving, which prompts regenerative braking while you elevate your foot, permitting you to largely ignore the brake pedal. The suspension was tight, however not horribly so. It was definitely much better sorted than the Mannequin Y, which on tough roads felt prefer it was pummeling my kidneys.

Although the automotive had sufficient vary to make it to my mother and father’ home, I wished to cost on the way in which to make sure we’d have sufficient for the return. (120v retailers are excruciatingly sluggish.) After coming into our vacation spot into the nav, we added one other cease and looked for “supercharger.” Helpfully, the highest hits have been Superchargers alongside our route, beginning with the one closest to our vacation spot.

Driving the automotive was nice, however letting it drive itself … not a lot.

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