Tesla Model 3 electric vehicles at a Hertz neighborhood location.
Hertz has partnered with oil giant BP to build a new network of electric vehicle charging stations in the United States.
The car rental giant — which has announced deals in the past year to buy a total of up to 340,000 EVs from Tesla, Polestar and General Motors by 2027 — is partnering with a unit from BP to install thousands of new chargers at its US locations.
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Under the agreement, BP Pulse, the oil company’s EV charging arm, will install the chargers and provide software and services to help Hertz manage its rapidly growing fleet of EVs.
While many of the chargers will be used to charge EVs in Hertz’s own fleet, some will be made available to taxi and cab drivers and the general public, the companies said. Access to chargers is often cited as a potential roadblock to wider adoption of electric vehicles by US consumers.
The new deal builds on an existing program where BP Pulse installed chargers at 25 of Hertz’s busiest airport locations. They have not stated how many they plan to build eventually.
Hertz already has thousands of EVs for rent at about 500 of its locations in 38 US states, where it has installed its own chargers. It expects to have about 3,000 chargers up and running in its US locations by the end of 2023.
The company plans to have a quarter of its fleet made up of electric vehicles by the end of 2024.
Vic Shao, who leads BP Pulse’s fleet operations, told CNBC the new deal will include software to help Hertz manage the complex task of keeping its growing EV fleet charged and rentable.
“If you have gasoline or diesel, you have a scenario where the price for the fuel goes up or down by maybe 25% in a given year or something like that,” Shao told CNBC. But in some markets, like California, “electricity prices can go up and down 400% a day.”
“So if you’re operating a large-scale fleet, it’s very difficult to scale unless you have a fix on the cost of your ‘fuel’, electricity in this case. You have to get a handle on operating costs,” he said.
Shao said BP Pulse Hertz’ fleet software will help reduce its electricity costs by scheduling vehicles to charge at cheaper times of the day, as part of helping manage what he called the “choreographed dance” of being fully charged and keeping a fleet of EVs up and running for customers.
In addition to chargers and software for Hertz’s own fleet, the two companies plan to build chargers that will be available to the general public, taking advantage of Hertz’s busy locations across the country. The companies expect motorists, especially those who rent EVs from Hertz, to be the main customers for those chargers.
Hertz said more than 25,000 Uber drivers have rented Teslas under its deal with the ride-hailing giant.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct that the 3,000 chargers Hertz plans to install by the end of this year are unrelated to the deal with BP.
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