Rental car giant Hertz is now 12 months into its electric car push in Australia.

    With a fleet of Polestar electric cars rolling out across Australia, it plans to make 5 per cent of its rental fleet electric by the end of 2023 – globally, around 10 per cent of Hertz’s fleet is electric.

    The rollout is part of a broader global deal between Hertz and Polestar that will see it buy 65,000 cars between 2021 and 2026. More makes and models will follow.

    So far, the feedback on electric rentals has been positive – with a few exceptions, of course.

    Hertz APAC vice president Eoin MacNeill told CarExpert “we get really good feedback from people who definitely want to drive an EV, and are booking an EV”.

    “Feedback is a little bit more challenging from people we may be offering an EV for the first time,” he said.

    “Those people obviously have to go through the learning experience of how you drive an EV, how you charge it … there’s probably a bit more anxiety around the charging network when they’ve left the station as a customer, but that’s improving every day.”

    Mr MacNeill said the charging experience was the major challenge Hertz was facing in its bid to offer electric cars across Australia and New Zealand – from what goes into installing rapid chargers at depots in airports, to the number of public DC charge providers rental customers need to navigate on the road.

    The solution? One electric car charge payment app to rule them all.

    “There’s an incredible opportunity for [electric charge station] suppliers with rental fleets, because of the fact we’ll be able to [send] people to those particular operators we’re partnering with,” Mr MacNeill said.

    “This will evolve over time, but … my encouragement would be an interoperability standard for Australia that allows any customer to go to any station, and not necessarily have to have the fob from the individual charger.

    “Certainly as a fleet operator that would be high on our list.

    “Whether it’s ChargeFox, or Evie, BP Pulse, or Ampol, or Shell, or any other provider, the ability to use your app to charge up and be able to get that billed back seamlessly to the rental operator is a nice thing to have. It’s actually almost a necessary thing to have.

    Hertz currently gives out swipe cards to access the ChargeFox and Evie networks with the keys to its electric rental cars.

    Although each charge provider has its own smartphone app, asking people renting a car for one or two days to download multiple apps, complete the sign up process, and link their card is clearly too big of an ask for rental customers.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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