A little thought about the aspect of the electric vehicle revolution in today’s world is the effect it’ll end up having on the rental car market. Once electric vehicles become far more affordable, we’re going to see the offshoot of what that means for this market. What it should mean is a much more cost-effective rental car market. But is that what will happen?
The short answer is maybe. It’s not a great answer but it’ll depend on the change of government policy prior to the uptake of electric vehicle on a fleet level. Policies such as electric vehicle taxation based on KMS travelled in a year may negatively affect that rental car market but by-en-large the benefits far outweigh the risks.
One positive change that’ll hopefully affect both the price and how we rent vehicles is the fact that an electric vehicle is basically one big computer (to oversimplify it). That means that in most cases we’ll no longer need to check-in and check out of rental vehicle counters because all aspects of the vehicle can be controlled remotely. Most of the process can be automated with cars being pre-allocated and left in specific spots. It also means that you won’t need keys to access the car, a piece of technology that’s already being used with carshare applications in some countries worldwide.
Another positive change on the back end for rental car companies is that electric vehicles don’t need to be serviced as often or cost as much to service as a normally aspirated vehicle. It means that cars can stay on the road longer and even when they are off the road it isn’t costing the company a whole heap of cash.
The increasing availability of charging stations across Australia and worldwide is also going to help eliminate issues with petrol pricing when you need to drive a vehicle back to the rental car company on an empty tank. Charge Fox, which is Australia’s biggest charging network, now has fast chargers available on almost a 1 to 1 basis with petrol bowsers countrywide which is a phenomenal achievement in such a short amount of time.
Electric vehicles are also in-line to be the first to receive most semi-autonomous driving technology with Tesla getting ready to roll out yet another version of their highly successful autopilot program. Why is this so important? Because it means that travellers may not require a license in any given nation to rent a vehicle. It may be as simple as using a rideshare company or taking a taxi somewhere. And even when you do want a private car for the rental car duration it means you won’t need a license to operate it.
It’s looking more and more likely that the electric vehicle market will change the rental car market sooner than later. And when that happens the hopeful outcome for most travellers is that they’ll be paying less per day to rent a vehicle.