Edited by: Juan Ruiz
& Keri Stooksbury
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Back in October 2021, Hertz announced that they were going to order 100,000 Tesla Model 3s, the popular electric car, to offer as rental and Uber options. One year later, Hertz locations across the county have multiple Tesla and Polestar models available to rent to help satisfy the surging demand for electric vehicles.
I really enjoy renting cars and being able to experience different models, so on a recent family vacation to Orlando, I decided to rent a Tesla Model Y from Hertz since it was the first time I had seen it as an option on my travels.
The price was a little bit higher than the alternatives, and there are some charging logistics to deal with, but it was a fun experience.
Although it might not be for everyone, here is what you can expect if you rent a Tesla (or any electric vehicle) from Hertz.
Since we were traveling as a family of 4 with plenty of luggage, car seats, and a stroller, renting an SUV or minivan was a priority.
I compared prices across the major rental companies at Orlando International Airport (MCO) and settled on Hertz since the price was similar and I am trying to build up my Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points balance.
Had I been traveling solo, I would have booked one of the cheaper cars and taken my chance with my options in the President’s Circle section. However, lately, the selections have been very weak and I couldn’t risk not getting a car with enough space.
I settled on 2 options … a Medium 5 Passenger SUV or a Tesla Model Y. Despite being $135 more for 3 days, I wanted to drive the Model Y — and it was still cheaper than some of the other luxury SUV options, so I booked it.
I used The Platinum Card® from American Express to pay which provided a slight discount and even an extra 4-hour grace period to return the car. Without the grace period, those 4 hours would be charged as an additional day. The car rental insurance that comes with the Amex Platinum card is secondary, but I paid ~$25 for American Express Premium Protection which offers elevated primary car rental coverage.
Just like any other rental from Hertz, after I made my selections, I received a confirmation email and the reservation was immediately showing in my mobile app.
Hot Tip: If you have an Amex Platinum card, you can use CDP code 211762 for a discount when booking and a 4-hour grace period.
After gathering all of our luggage in the chaos of the Orlando airport, we made our way over to the rental car center.
Normally, Hertz Five Star members (free to join) can skip the line by simply finding their name on the board and locating their car in the designated parking spot. However, that wasn’t the case with my rental as I was instructed to go see a representative at the desk to get my key.
Fortunately, it was a short wait and the agent gave me a quick overview of the car and informed me that I only needed to return the car with 20% battery left. That seems (and is) like a good deal, especially since the rental car standard practice is that you return (gas tanks) in full or you’ll be charged. However, the Hertz website states that electric cars can be returned with as little as a 10% charge.
When I questioned the agent about this, she said that was true, but it would be really helpful for turnaround if customers brought them back with more. To make their job a tad bit easier, I returned the Tesla with 92% as charging turned out to be quite accessible at my hotel. But not having to stress about that aspect is nice — hopefully, this policy lasts.
Once I was assigned my car, we walked out to the garage and found our brand-new Model Y Long Range Dual Motor with less than 500 miles on it.
There were about 10 other Teslas as well, and they all also appeared to be new.
Despite being an SUV, it is a small SUV, so it took some puzzle-like maneuvers to get all of our stuff in securely.
We spent a good 30 minutes installing car seats, rearranging luggage, and letting the kids press the fart button (yes, Telsa’s have a fart noise!) before hitting the road.
As it turns out, the frunk is the perfect size for an Away bag and a backpack.
If you haven’t driven a Tesla before, the simplicity can be a little overwhelming.
For Teslas, it is quite easy. Simply tap your credit card-like key against the door to unlock, place the card on the console, shift the car into gear and drive away.
The dashboard is streamlined and only interrupted by a giant touchscreen tablet. This tablet controls everything including climate control, GPS, cameras, the entertainment system (there is a lot of entertainment, including games), and more.
You could spend your first hour just tapping away at the touchscreen before you get familiar with the car, but if needed, it is easy enough to just get in and drive away — just beware of the regenerative breaking!
This Long Range Dual Motor model seemed to have all the bells and whistles including “Autopilot Computer. Full self-driving computer” as was stated in the Software section. But since this was a quick trip, I didn’t have time to play around with all of that.
Hot Tip: Read my review of the Tesla Model 3 that I rented from Turo!
As I mentioned, Hertz officially only requires that renters return the car with a 10% charge. However, even at 20% that left me with plenty of range for 3 days in Orlando as the Model Y gets over 330 miles on a full charge.
I would think that many renters, if only driving between hotels and theme parks, could likely rent an electric car without the need to charge it at all (depending on the length of their rental).
However, the Tesla did come with a Level 1 charger, which can plug into a standard household plug, as well as an adapter for public charging.
There are 3 options for charging a Tesla:
While you may find free public charging, Tesla Superchargers carry an extra fee that will be passed along to the renter via Hertz.
For our 3 night stay in Orlando, we used some Hilton Honors points to stay at the very nice Waldorf Astoria Orlando – Bonnet Creek for the second time in 2 years.
Although parking wasn’t free, I was pleasantly surprised to see that electric car charging was!
The parking garage is quite large as it is shared by both the Waldorf Astoria and its sister property, Signia by Hilton – Orlando Bonnet Creek. Unfortunately, there were only 2 chargers between the 2 conference-heavy hotels.
One afternoon I saw that one charger was available so I parked my Model Y there for an hour or so while we had lunch and then moved it in case somebody else needed to charge.
That quick boost on our final full day allowed me to return the car with over 90% charge.
With gas prices soaring at the time, saving money on fuel was more than welcome.
I can only assume that the hotel(s) will install more chargers as electric cars become more common. We’ll see how long they stay free, though …
The return process, as I expected, was very thorough. The only time I had a more thorough return inspection was when I rented a Dream Car from Hertz that cost 3x what the Tesla retails for.
When I pulled up, I was greeted by a very friendly agent who knew exactly what to look for in a brand-new car.
As we unloaded she checked the mileage and charge level (all good at 92%) and then we walked around the car looking for damage.
As I always do, I filmed this part because rental companies have been known to bill some erroneous charges that can be hard to prove without evidence.
The car did have a mark on 1 of the wheels that I documented when I picked up the car, so after I showed her that, we were good to go.
Moments later I had my receipt in my inbox with no additional charges, but I am still keeping the video on my phone just in case.
Overall, renting a Tesla Model Y from Hertz was a convenient and enjoyable experience. I really like renting cars and view it as a part of the travel journey that I look forward to — as odd as that sounds!
Being able to rent a fun, fast car … that farts (!) … was a blast to zip around in Orlando with my family. While it was more expensive than a similar-sized SUV, we were able to save a couple of dollars on gas and the entertainment factor was invaluable.
I didn’t have any issues with range or charging, so I can easily see myself renting an electric car for a trip like this again in the future. And even better if hotels don’t charge for charging, either!
For the car rental collision damage coverage benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express, car rental loss and damage insurance can provide coverage up to $75,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
Yes, Hertz has Tesla Model 3, Model Y, and Polestar 2 electric cars available to rent.
No, at the moment you can return Teslas with as little as 10% charge left.
Yes, the Teslas in Hertz’s fleet are equipped with Tesla Autopilot.
Electric cars from Hertz come with a charging kit that connects to standard home plugs, as well as adapters for public chargers.
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