Trapped Inside a Rental Tesla: The Challenges of Driving an Electric Vehicle Without Experience

A mother and her daughter recently experienced a harrowing situation when they rented a Tesla from Hertz. Unfamiliar with electric vehicles, they found themselves trapped inside the car when it ran out of battery. This incident sheds light on the challenges faced by individuals who are new to driving EVs.

Car rental companies like Hertz have embraced electric vehicles due to their cost-cutting advantages. With lower maintenance costs and cheaper electricity compared to gas, EVs provide significant benefits to companies. However, this can pose difficulties for customers who have no prior experience with electric cars.

Although Hertz claims that its electric vehicles are popular among customers, the reality is quite different. Rental EVs are often available in parking lots because many people prefer to avoid them. In some cases, these cars are heavily discounted, and customers are persuaded to accept them as no other options are available. This situation can lead to issues for everyone involved, including the rental company, customers, and the overall adoption of EVs.

In the case of Becky Liebau and her daughter, they were faced with a Tesla as the only option when they arrived at a Hertz office. Despite Liebau having never driven an electric vehicle, they took the car and encountered problems from the start. The Tesla they rented had less than half the battery charge and they ran out of battery before finding a Supercharger station. Additionally, Hertz did not provide a plug adapter, rendering other charging stations inaccessible.

To make matters worse, the 12-volt battery in the Tesla also failed, leaving the car inoperable. Liebau and her daughter were unable to open the car doors due to the lack of a functioning battery. They were unaware of the safety door releases that Tesla offers, which are located near the window switches. Eventually, they contacted a tow truck driver who instructed them to exit the vehicle through the trunk using the tailgate release.

Once their ordeal was over, Liebau encountered further challenges with Hertz. The company billed her for charging the car, despite the fact that they were unable to charge it. When she refused to pay, Hertz added her to a blacklist, preventing her from renting with them in the future.

This incident highlights the importance of providing adequate support and education for customers renting electric vehicles. It is crucial for rental companies to ensure that customers are well-informed about the unique features and requirements of EVs. By doing so, they can avoid negative experiences and foster a positive perception of electric cars among customers.

– CBS News, “Tesla rental nightmare: Woman gets stuck in Hertz Tesla after it runs out of battery”