Electric cars creating buzz

A Nissan Leaf electric car is plugged into a charging station at the Seward Park Cooperative apartments on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York. Hertz customers can rent this electric car by the hour.

Kai Ryssdal: Got a question for all you corporate road warriors out there: What's your rental car of choice? Black sedan? SUV? That sports car you could never afford?

How about an electric vehicle? Hertz says demand for 'em from corporate customers has surged in the past year, so they're adding more to their rental fleets. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Scott Tong reports.

Scott Tong: Hertz has offered electric vehicles for 10 months now -- a few dozen Volts and Leafs in some markets.

Verdict? Spokesman Rich Broome.

Rich Broome: We've talked to Nissan, we've talked to Chevy, and we basically said we'll take as many as you can give us.

Hertz wants as many as 3,000, but automakers aren't cranking them out very quickly. The big demand comes from corporate travelers.

Tim Dunne at J.D. Power says road warriors on quick trips worry less about where to recharge. They just...

Tim Dunne: Fly into a city, go to one or two meetings very briefly. There's not a long-range requirement for four or five days of travel.

But there are requirements at some companies to cut their carbon emissions, hence electric car rentals. But widespread consumer use? Dunne figures 10 percent of us will be driving EVs in 10 years. As for automakers, there is risk in showing off the latest toys at the rental counter. Some say that counter has developed a reputation for carrying leftovers no one really wants to drive.

In Washington, I'm Scott Tong for Marketplace.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...