The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Hertz rethinks EVS

- – Matt Brogan

Rental car agency Hertz is planning to slow the number of electric vehicles it introduces to its fleet, citing higher repair costs and low resale values as the driving factor behind the decision.

Hertz global chief executive Stephen Scherr said lower than expected margins for the period ending September 2023 and costly EV repairs were a challenge that had forced a rethink in the number of electric vehicles Hertz would offer going forward.

“Our in-fleeting of EVS will be slower than our prior expectatio­ns,” he said.

“Collision and damage repairs on an EV can often run about twice that associated with a comparable combustion engine vehicle.

“Our direct operating expenses remained controlled in the quarter as they grew with transactio­n volume. On a unit basis, we achieved productivi­ty gains across most categories of auto.

“The exception remained vehicle damage costs, particular­ly those on our EVS, which we are addressing in a very targeted way.

“MSRP declines in EVS over the course of 2023, driven primarily by Tesla, have driven the fair market value of our EVS lower as compared to last year, such that as salvage creates a larger loss and therefore greater burden.”

Hertz said that about 80 percent of its battery electric fleet are Teslas, while about 11 percent of its fleet is now comprised of electric vehicles.

The company has about 50,000 EVS on its fleet, meaning 35,000 of those are sourced from Tesla – well short of the 100,000 units it originally forecast at the end of 2022.

Mr Scherr said Hertz remained committed to its order, as well as EVS from GM and Polestar.

“Our focus and our work with Tesla is to look at the performanc­e of the car so as to lower the risk of incidents of damage. We are in very direct engagement with them on parts procuremen­t and labour and the likes,” he said.

“Remember, in the likes of GM and other OEMS, there are decades of establishm­ent of a broad national parts supply network. There is an aftermarke­t of parts that is there that is less mature obviously in the context of Tesla.”

As outlined by CNBC, electric vehicles can face unique maintenanc­e needs not often considered in the context of ongoing vehicle maintenanc­e, particular­ly within rental fleets.

Kinetic chief executive Nikhil Naikal said the weight of an electric vehicle was proving to place added wear and tear on brake and suspension components, as well as tyres and other consumable parts.

“The reality of electric vehicles is that they can be 453kgs heavier or more than gas vehicles, and they move faster, with higher torque,” he said.

“Since they’re extremely zippy and heavier, it’s just physics – the ability to overcome inertia so quickly is going to affect their suspension systems, the brakes and steering columns.

“It’s counterint­uitive, but even with fewer moving parts EVS are susceptibl­e to requiring more maintenanc­e. They especially require tyre-swapping because the tyres wear our more quickly from that high torque and weight.”

Despite the poorer outlook for its EV fleet, Hertz reported third quarter revenue of $4.25 billion, net income of $989.8 million and an adjusted corporate EBIDTA of $564.9 million.

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