Hertz Adding Nissan Leaf EV to Rental Fleet in 2011
February 12, 6:37 PM
Portland Destinations Travel Examiner Jennifer Ano
The new Nissan Leaf at the 2009 Detroit auto show. AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye
Today Hertz, in a joint effort with Nissan, announced that it will add the new Nissan Leaf to their fleet of rental cars in 2011. Hertz has been a forerunner among the mainstream rental car companies, meeting consumer needs with the latest technology, like on-board navigation systems and high-end luxury and performance car rentals. In response to consumer trends toward eco-friendly travel, they’re adding the Leaf to their fleet of rental cars in the United States and European markets next year.
The hatchback Leaf can seat 5 adults and would likely be in the compact car category of rentals with Ford Focus, Toyota Corollas and similar vehicles. On a single charge, it will run for about 100 miles, making it a great option for local trips in and around a travel destination. It probably won’t be much of an issue for the average traveler, however if you’re the type of traveler who enjoys venturing out on the road to attractions an hour or so away from your hotel, it might be a concern. (If so, there’s always the Prius.)
Although not clear at the time of the announcement, the subject of charging stirs up questions for travelers. It’s not like you can just drive up to somewhere with an outlet and plug in your rental Leaf, like you would your cell phone. It’s suggested that there will be a quick-charge type mechanism that allows the Leaf to be recharged to the majority of its capacity in a fraction of the time it would take for conventional charging. For the Leaf, plugged into a 220V outlet, typical charge time takes about 4-8 hours. With a quick-charge system (likely at a station) it can be charged in about a half hour.
Nissan stopped in Portland in December of 2009 along its coast to coast ‘Zero Emissions’ Tour of the Leaf. Portlanders have a long history of environmentalism and grassroots style education and awareness on sustainable issues, and Nissan did well to give Portland eco-conscious consumers a sneak peek at what will be available to the consumer market in the latter part of 2010. While it may not please all, at least its a step in the direction of sustainability and less reliance on fossil fuels for cars