Enterprise Starts Renting the Chevrolet Volt Electric Car

Enterprise Starts Renting the Chevrolet Volt Electric Car

Chevy VOLTBy John Addison (1/6/11)

Thousands of Potential Locations for EV and PEV Car Rental and Car Share

Enterprise Rent-A-Car picked the perfect place to start renting the Chevrolet Volt. It is right in the middle of Southern California’s hot electric car market at the Mark Christopher Auto Center in Ontario, California. Daily people test drive hundreds of Chevrolet, Cadillac, and other GM cars. Rentals at car dealerships are ideal for letting people drive EVs in real world conditions.

This will be the first Chevrolet Volt available for daily and weekly rentals. Later this month the Volt will be available in Ontario, along with a new charging station. One hour away, Enterprise is currently renting its first Nissan Leaf in Carson, California.

Enterprise is just getting started and plans to leverage its network of more than 6,000 rental locations throughout the United States to connect customers with EV technology.  Enterprise is also installing charging stations at select nationwide locations where the EVs will be available so customers can learn about the EV charging process. More than 5,000 of these Enterprise Rent-A-Car offices are located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population.  As Enterprise Rent-A-Car continues to add EVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles throughout its network, more customers will have an opportunity to try the new technology for consideration of purchase, out of curiosity, or to choose an environmentally friendly car rental option. It also gives customers a chance to learn more about the charging process.

“Purchase demand for electric vehicles has been impressive, and we anticipate similar demand from rental customers,” said Jeff Morrell, vice president of Enterprise Rent-A-Car. “Making the Volt available will provide an extended test drive for curious customers, for those with cars being serviced and for those interested in possibly purchasing an EV.”

Enterprise Stays Ahead of Hertz and Zipcar

Additional EVs will be offered at other Enterprise locations as manufacturers make them available.  For example, 500 Nissan LEAFs will be available at select Enterprise locations nationwide, and on-site charging stations will be installed to support the vehicles.  Charging stations already have been installed at Enterprise offices in Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Monica, Calif.

“EVs can be charged using a standard 110-volt home outlet, or a 220-volt home or public charger, or 480-volt commercial “fast” charging station,” states Enterprise. Most pure battery-electric cars, like the Nissan Leaf, can travel about 100 miles on a single charge, accommodating the travel habits of the daily commuter, who drives an average of approximately 40 miles a day.  However, an extended-range EV like the Volt can travel further due to an on-board gas-powered generator.

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. WeCar will offer more plug-in vehicles. Part of the growth is driven by corporate, university, and government fleets. Enterprise Holdings also owns and operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car, and National Car Rental brands.

Enterprise Orders 500 Nissan LEAF Electric Cars

Enterprise Orders 500 Nissan LEAF Electric Cars

Nissan LEAFBy John Addison (updated 9/14/10; original 8/3/10)

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.

WeCar Sharing

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 Sustainability

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.