Hertz will purchase 100,000 Teslas by the end of 2022 in a push to create North America’s largest EV rental fleet, and “one of the largest in the world,” with football superstar Tom Brady serving as the spokesperson for the campaign.
Hertz also plans to make electric vehicles available to rent in Europe. The tie-up to Tesla is a “first step,” TheDetroitBureau.com was told by a Hertz representative, with the rental company “open to working with all automakers on EVs.”
To support the move, Hertz will set up a network of chargers at its rental locations in North America and Europe, with customers also getting access to Tesla’s network of high-speed Superchargers.
“Electric vehicles are now mainstream, and we’ve only just begun to see rising global demand and interest,” Hertz interim CEO Mark Fields said in a statement. “The new Hertz is going to lead the way as a mobility company, starting with the largest EV rental fleet in North America and a commitment to grow our EV fleet and provide the best rental and recharging experience for leisure and business customers around the world.”
Until now, only a handful of rental companies have added battery-electric vehicles to their fleets, including Alamo, Turo and, in Europe, Sixt. But Hertz is betting on growing interest in BEV technology as the number of all-electric vehicles offered on the market expands exponentially.
As TheDetroitBureau.com reported last month, there will be at least 50 all-electric models available in the U.S. market by late 2022, up from 13 at the end of the 2021 model year.
Demand for BEVs remains small in the U.S. but is growing rapidly, sales more than doubling during just the first half of this year. A statement from Hertz referenced a study from the Pew Research Center that found 40% of American motorists considering an electric vehicle the next time they are in the market.
BEVs are gaining traction even more quickly in Europe. British motorists purchased 32,721 all-electric vehicles in September, or 15.2% of the market’s total. That was just 5,000 short of the total number of BEVs UK drivers bought during all of 2019.
To help get the message across, Hertz said it is “teaming up” with Tom Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl champion. Two ads featuring Brady — and using his familiar, game day “Let’s Go,” rallying cry begin airing today. Customers already can begin scheduling Tesla rentals through Hertz.
Company spokesman Ray Day told TheDetroitBureau.com Hertz will be open to deals with other automakers, though he declined to say which ones the rental company is considering.
Getting butts in seats
The announcement should come as good news for the industry, as a whole, however, as manufacturers believe that getting potential buyers exposed to the latest crop of BEVs will help increase demand.
Part of the challenge is to show how much the technology has improved during the last decade, delivering significantly better performance and range, among other things.
The best way to win over motorists is to get “butts in seats,” Darren Palmer, the head of EV operations at Ford, told TheDetroitBureau.com this month.
The Tesla tie-up is one of several big announcements made by Hertz since former Ford CEO Fields signed on earlier this month.
New stock offering coming
If nothing else, the deal should draw attention to Hertz which filed for bankruptcy in May 2020, emerging from court protection in June. It now plans a new public offering of stock, with its shares scheduled to be traded on the NASDAQ.
The struggling company, based in Estero, Florida has seen its fortunes improve this year, buoyed by the surge in rental-car prices. It reported adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, or Ebitda, of $639 million for the second quarter, a record. But it had a net loss of $168 million for the April-June quarter, the result of $633 million in restructuring charges. It reports its third-quarter results Thursday, Oct. 28.