Thinking of Renting an Electric Car This Summer? Here's What to Know

Want to test drive that EV life? If you want to save hundreds on gas, here's what you need to know about renting an electric car for your next epic adventure.
Written by Elaine Duvet
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
With today’s soaring gas prices, it's hard to imagine driving across the country this summer. But can
renting an electric car
for your next vaycay be the answer? U.S. Travelers embarking on
long summer road trips
are coming out on top.
, the
car ownership super app
, shares the best way to plan for your EV summer rental. 

Renting an electric car: how do you turn this thing on?

When it comes to renting an electric car, most rental companies offer consumers eco-friendly options, instead of just their typical gas-powered counterparts. Instead of $400 on gas for a 1,000-mile road trip, how does $90 sound?
Heavy hitters like Enterprise, Hertz, and Avis offer electric cars like Tesla Model Y SUVs or Tesla Model 3 sedans. The Nissan Leaf, Polestar 2, Kia Niro EV, and Tesla Model S are also available at select locations. You can also rent privately owned EVs with the car-sharing rental app Turo. 
Renting an electric car requires thoughtful planning, especially if you’ve never driven an EV before. Electric vehicles drive and operate differently than internal-combustion cars, so make sure you do a bit of research before you make your selection. You’ll also want to make sure you know how to open the vehicle and start the thing!
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Renting an electric car: range

Consider how you’ll be using your electric rental. For a work commute? A two-week seaside getaway? It’s important to know how far your EV rental can go on a single charge, and the proper way to recharge it. 
Your rental company should provide comprehensive info on your car’s range, or you can find EPA ratings online. If you drive the rental in cold conditions or whip it around like a sports car, expect the range to be affected. 
Be patient with yourself. Renting an electric car for the first time has a learning curve, especially if it's a Tesla. Using windshield wipers and adjusting the mirrors is quite different on the Model 3 than on a conventional car. Though operating a Tesla isn’t as intuitive as you’d expect, the automaker does provide instructional videos and Hertz has a pretty comprehensive FAQ. 

Renting an electric car: charging

It’s also a good idea to take note of how long it will take your EV rental to charge. Depending on the type of car you have and the charger you use, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of days.  
Arguably the most important part of renting an electric car is figuring out where to charge it. No one wants to ruin their vacation by running out of charge in the middle of nowhere.
First, check the trunk. Most electric vehicles will come with a Level 1 household plug charger. Fortunately, all-electric vehicles can recharge with a Level 2 charger, which can be found at public charging stations outside of shopping malls, parking garages, grocery stores, and even some workplaces. 
These public charge points should add about 20 miles of range per hour charged. If you’ve got a Tesla, the Tesla Superchargers will
offer you the best experience
. If you find yourself at a non-Tesla supercharger station, it will require an adapter to recharge. 
Newer EVs can utilize DC fast chargers, which will charge your rental much faster than a Level 2 charger, at 10-20 minutes miles of range per minute. 
Before taking off on your adventure, check out apps like Plugshare that will highlight available charging options along your route. It also wouldn't hurt to contact your hotel or Airbnb host to see if they know of any EV charging stations nearby. 
Teslas make for great road trips, as the EVs can choose routes based on charging station availability. Your Tesla will even guide you automatically to a charging station if your car’s current charge won’t get to your destination.
Make sure you determine what your EV rental requires, as different EVs charge at different power levels, and not at DC fast chargers are created equal.
The key to enjoying an electric rental car this summer is to plan your heart out.
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