Why Americans won't rent Teslas


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I rented one when on a three day trip. It was fun once I got it dialed in. Didn’t need to charge it.

Recently visited the same place for a five day trip. Knew I’d be working 12s or more, and would need to charge. Picked out an ICE this time. Easier to deal with, same price. If I could have a guaranteed charger at the hotel it would’ve been fine. As it was I just didn’t need the hassle.


(Most?) People want convenience.
They don’t want added “hassle”.

I tried to rent a Hertz Tesla in Kauai. Not available.

I could a gone to an app that does “private/ owner cars”… But that entailed picking up, dropping off … Away from the airport, blah blah INCONVENIENCE…
I went with “easiest”.

When more people have more experience with EVs, and the FUD diminishes, … We’ll see what happens.

EV tech may have crossed the chasm, but EV adoption is still on the edge.



This CNBC story referenced another important but not often thought of dynamic afoot with EVs.

Tesla hit its production stride with volume just as the auto market was entering a larger contraction in supply due to COVID and resulting parts shortages for ECU chips for vehicles of all types. As a result, Tesla’s first few years of rapid increases in sales volume took place in a period where buyers had already acclimated to paying premiums to any dealer who HAD a car to sell. As a result, costs on all vehicles were already inflated but higher with EVs in particular because those wanting to enjoy being the first to have an EV had few options and bid prices up even higher.

The combination of supply chain problems getting solved (sorta) AND Tesla growing further into its learning / productivity curve AND Tesla wanting to put the screws to competition by further lowering prices induced a dynamic that impacted fleet buyers AND individual buyers. Fleet buyers like Hertz buying (say) 10,000 Tesla Model 3s for $50,000 each and expecting them to depreciate over 2 years to being worth $37,000 and sell them to buy new Teslas found that ACTUAL new Teslas were selling for nearly the same price due to Tesla lowering prices. This further reduced demand for used EVs, lowering their price further. This had two negative impacts. It reduced the demand for NEW Teslas by fleet owners because they weren’t getting the cash back on 2-year old vehicles they expected to turn the cars over like they normally do. The drop in used prices left the rest of the retail market with the impression that “EVs don’t hold their value” which turned buyers of new EVs away.

The other factor covered by the story is repair costs - both mechanical and collision. Tesla’s approach of selling direct and having relatively few dealers to soak up profits results in a shortage of trained / certified facilities for repair work. As mentioned here previously, wait times for parts in the auto industry in general are not good but they are particularly bad for Teslas. That’s raising insurance rates (more interim loaner car expenses, higher parts / labor prices) which is further impacting demand.

The car market is astronomically expensive and very psychological. Attempting to launch a new type of vehicle amid economic disruptions and massive changes in regulatory requirements and incentives is very risky.


  • yet.
    (Why Americans won’t rent Teslas -)
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