Electric Car Potential in Fleet of 1 Million Vehicles
Enterprise Rent-A-Car will be renting the Nissan LEAF electric car in key locations in 2011. In January it will start taking delivery of the LEAF with plans for 500 by the end of 2011. This is the first phase of its plans to offer electric vehicles (EVs) at select offices throughout its neighborhood network of more than 5,000 U.S. locations.
To get more details, I had breakfast with Lee Broughton, director of sustainability for Enterprise Holdings, which owns and operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car, National Car Rental, and WeCar Sharing. Enterprise Holdings will also offer customers electric vehicles from other manufacturers as they become available. Enterprise Holdings owns and operates the world’s largest fleet of passenger vehicles.
Mr. Broughton said, “With airport and neighborhood locations within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population, our Enterprise Rent-A-Car offices are uniquely positioned to test the market viability of new alternative fuel technologies like the electric vehicle with daily commuters nationwide.” The LEAF’s 100 mile range per electric charge will meet the needs of most car rental customers.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car initially will offer electric cars to customers in 8 markets where over 10,000 charge stations are being installed, including Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Knoxville and Nashville, Tenn.; San Diego; Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle.
Beginning this October 2010, Enterprise will start pilot tests with its first Nissan LEAF in Carson, California, where it is installing its first charge station. In 2011, charging stations will be installed at select locations, including several of the Enterprise “hybrid branches” – nearly 100 designated locations which offer hybrids. Some charging will be from solar parking structures at some Enterprise locations.
Hybrid Car Rental Leader
Enterprise Holdings rents 8,000 hybrid vehicles to its individual and fleet customers. This is the world’s largest hybrid fleet. Enterprise has 450,000 cars with an average highway fuel efficiency rating of at least 28 mpg or better and nearly 230,000 that average 32 mpg or better.
Enterprise Fleet Management offers comprehensive programs to help fleet customers reduce their carbon footprint. Enterprise also works with employers in developing ride sharing programs.
Enterprise also competes with ZipCar and other car sharing services with WeCar which has locations in 17 states. WeCar offers cars by the hour university students, individuals, and fleets that do not want to own all of their cars. Google has 11 WeCar Priuses that are converted to be plug-in hybrids. More plug-in vehicles will be offered by WeCar with part of the growth driven by B2B solutions requested by corporate, university, and government fleets.
Enterprise Holdings’ introduction of electric vehicles is just one facet of a comprehensive environmental sustainability platform, which includes initiatives such as a customer carbon offset program; a pledge to plant 50 million trees over the next 50 years; and a commitment to alternative fuels research. Since 2006, Enterprise’s environmental stewardship has resulted in:
- Establishment and funding of the Enterprise Institute for Renewable Fuels, which conducts biofuel research using algae, soybean and camelina.
- A commitment to reduce both energy use and energy costs by 20 percent over the next five years.
- With partner TerraPass, a customer carbon offset program offset 42,000 metric tons of carbon in one year.
- The Taylor family which owns the Enterprise Holdings and their companies have contributed or pledged more than $120 million to environmental initiatives.
- In 2010, the planting of the 5 millionth tree through the company’s 50 Million Tree Pledge, a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and U.S. Forest Service.