Try before you buy: Rental agencies are expanding their EV fleets

2023 06 08 image 19.jpg
2023 06 08 image 19.jpg

The big picture: Sales of electric vehicles are gaining momentum in the US, but questions remain for many prospective shoppers. Range anxiety continues to be a leading concern while others may wonder how an EV stacks up against a traditional gas vehicle in terms of maintenance and reliability.

One way to gain first-hand experience with an EV is to try before you buy. Setting up a test drive with a car dealership can be a hassle and having to deal with aggressive salespeople is no fun, which is why some shoppers are turning to rental agencies for EV seat time.

According to a recent survey from Verra Mobility, 78 percent of Americans said they would consider renting an EV to learn more about them before pulling the trigger on a purchase.

In addition to answering some of the deeper questions, an EV rental can help familiarize drivers with expectations that come with owning an electric vehicle such as how to find charging stations and how to pay for charging using an app. More than 60 percent of respondents said they would not know how to charge an electric car if they rented one tomorrow.

There has never been a better time to rent an EV, either. Rental agencies are increasingly expanding their fleets to include even more all-electric cars and trucks. According to Modor Intelligence, the EV rental industry is expected to grow to $20.4 billion by 2027.

Nearly 80 percent of those polled expressed concerns about range anxiety, and 43 percent believed they would be more likely to need roadside assistance with an EV versus an internal combustion-based vehicle. What’s more, 63 percent of survey takers thought maintenance costs would be higher with an EV than a gas car. Nearly one in five survey takers said they would prefer to rent a gas vehicle over an EV, regardless of price.

Among those that have rented an EV, 64 percent said they would consider purchasing one based on their rental experience.

Image credit: Hyundai Motor Group

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