Electric rental in U.S. is failing due to range anxiety image

Limited range is slowing down interest for electric vehicles across US, not just in sales but also in rentals, as car drivers fear the batteries will die while they’re still on the road.

Only around 140,000 plug-in electric cars are currently on U.S. roads, which is along way from President Barack Obama’s target of 1 million by 2015, numbers from the Electric Drive Transportation Association show us.

“People are very keen to try it, but they will switch out of the contract part way through,” said in an interview Lee Broughton, head of sustainability at Enterprise Holdings Inc., the biggest U.S. auto renter. “Range anxiety makes them think they can’t get to a charging station.”

At Enterprise, customers only rent battery electric cars for around 1.6 days on average, compared to six  to seven days for for traditional autos. The lack of interest and slow demand is the main reason the St. Louis-based company has just 300 electric cars in its fleet, 40% below a plan set up back in 2010 – ordering 500 of Nissan Motor Co.’s plug-in electric Leafs, Broughton said.

Hertz Global Holdings added that back in 2010 it planned to upgrade its fleet to 500 to 1,000 electric cars by 2011, including Nissan Leafs and Chevrolet Volts, but the strategy proved fruitless soon because of lower-than-expected customer demand, according to Paula Rivera, a spokeswoman for the company based in Park Ridge, New Jersey.

Via Bloomberg