In a move to make the company truly global, Hertz has opened its participation in the latest New York Auto Show with the BYD E6 battery car. It stood side by side with the Chevrolet Volt that has been improved to accommodate wireless charging.
The two vehicles are part of the fleet of rental options in the Hertz Rental Auto offices in Shenzhen, China. These two vehicles are also being prepared to become part of the Hertz fleet in the United States.
According to Jack Hidary, Global EV Leader for the rental company, said, “We get a lot of support from the Chinese government.” He then explained the attraction with the E6, as the government of Shenzhen has fast-tracked the development of infrastructure to accommodate the EV, such as the construction of charging stations.
Shenzhen is also the only city in China offering the upgraded E6 to purchasers, with residents of the city purchasing electric vehicles such as the E6 receiving rebates around 120,000 renminbi or about U.S.$19,000. Currently, the cost of the E6 is about U.S.$58,000 in China and would be lower once it reaches the United States.
In another statement, Rich Broome, a senior vice president at Hertz, said that the company has a 600 rental cars in five cities throughout China and is projected to increase to 1,500 when 2013 rolls around.
Michael Austin, BYD America’s Vice President, said that the Hertz EV rental program would also be opened up in Beijing and Shanghai, where residents enjoy similar subsidies. He added, “The rental market is still very young in China. Many of the cars are being rented to chauffeurs.”
Austin further states that Shenzhen would have 500 E6 taxis on its streets and would also be converting its 1,600 vehicles into plug-in electrics, all made by BYD. Purchasers of electric vehicles would enjoy two free Level II chargers that would be installed near their homes or in their work facility built by their local utility together with low nighttime charging rates. The city currently has a hundred DC fast charging stations, also built by BYD. The E6 has a large sixty kWh battery pack that can provide 185 miles of range. These batteries can be fully charged at these stations in just half an hour.
It is expected that the E6 would be certified for sale in the U.S. by the end of 2012. These cars would be available for fleet purchasers such as Hertz but retail sales would soon be done when the charging infrastructure is developed further. He adds, “We feel the E6 is clearly ready for the American market. The performance, style and size are all very good.”