Car rental agency

Hertz will buy up to 65,000 electric cars from Polestar

CNN

By Jennifer Korn

Swedish electric car maker Polestar will sell up to 65,000 electric vehicles to Hertz over the next five years, the companies said Monday.

The move follows an order placed by Hertz for 100,000 electric cars made by Tesla in October 2021.

Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath previously told Automotive News Europe that the ambitious target for 2022 was to sell 65,000 cars. Polestar sold 29,000 cars in 2021, representing a 185% increase from 2020, according to sales figures released by the company in January.

Hertz plans to order the compact Polestar 2, one of the company’s two electric vehicle vehicles currently on the market. The model has an infotainment system powered by Android Automotive OS that includes built-in Google apps and has an estimated range of 270 miles on a single charge, according to the company. Polestar has announced plans to increase its two-car lineup with a midsize SUV, a compact SUV and a sports sedan by 2024, as well as the Polestar O2, an electric roadster concept car.

“Partnering with a global pioneer like Hertz will bring the incredible experience of driving an electric car to a wider audience, meeting a wide variety of short- and long-term mobility requirements from our joint customers,” Ingenlath said in a joint press release. Monday. “For many of them, this may be their first time driving an electric vehicle, and it will be a Polestar.”

Polestar parted ways with Volvo in 2017 and has now established itself as a standalone electric car brand, although it “benefits from specific technology and engineering synergies with Volvo Cars and thus benefits from significant economies of scale “, according to the company. The company remains co-owned by Volvo and parent company Volvo Geely, an automotive-focused holding group that recently announced plans to go public in a deal expected to close by mid -2022.

The electric vehicle maker grabbed headlines after its Super Bowl ad apparently slammed Elon Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX companies with the promise: ‘No conquering Mars’.

Polestar vehicles will first be available to Hertz tenants in Europe starting this spring, with rollout in North America and Australia starting in late 2022.

The deal with Hertz will aid in Polestar’s efforts to establish itself as an alternative to Tesla for those interested in electric vehicles. Tesla leads the world’s best-selling electric vehicles with nearly one million electric vehicle sales last year.

Polestar competes with other pure electric vehicle manufacturers such as Lucid, as well as well-established automakers such as Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen and Nissan that sell electric vehicles in the United States or Europe, or even in both markets.

Polestar’s sales to Hertz will also help bring electric vehicles to the mainstream. In the past, automakers looking to enter a new market have focused on selling their cars to rental car companies in order to introduce their cars to a wider range of customers, essentially giving them a chance to test drive. extended road.

Car rental companies are desperate for vehicles

The sales are also helping Hertz, which along with all other car rental companies has struggled to find new cars to purchase for its fleets. Car rental companies sold off a large percentage of their fleets in the summer of 2020, when the pandemic brought air travel to a virtual halt. Car rental companies needed to sell cars both to raise cash and because in many cases they had nowhere to park the cars they had. Hertz filed for bankruptcy during this time.

But once travel started to rebound, automakers found they didn’t have the supply of computer chips they needed to build all the cars there was demand for. So they focused on selling cars to retail customers, who typically pay more for cars than businesses like car rental companies that pay less than retail customers.

Car rental companies were unable to buy the cars they needed to replenish their fleets, leaving some customers unable to rent the cars they needed, especially in some holiday markets. Car rental companies have been forced to buy used cars for the first time to supplement their fleets and to keep the cars they have for longer than normal.

The lack of available rental cars has also driven up the price of car rentals. While the Consumer Price Index, the government’s main gauge of inflation, shows car rental prices have fallen somewhat since last summer, they are still up 38% from February 2020, just before the pandemic began to affect travel to the United States.

However, there could be problems for those who rent electric vehicles from Hertz or any other company, even if they are fans of electric vehicles.

While an EV owner might be able to charge the car at home overnight, someone traveling and in a hotel might not have this option available to them. And while using public charging stations might be cheaper than filling up a gas-powered car, especially with gas now above $4 a gallon in most countries, it can take a lot longer. longer to charge an EV than to refuel. Tank.

– CNN Business’ Chris Isidore contributed to this report

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