Hertz is teaming up with the city of Denver — and hopes to soon other cities — to build out its charging infrastructure to support the ongoing transition to electric vehicles.
This partnership is a big step to help rental car drivers, including those renting an EV for the first time or in an unfamiliar area, with the often daunting task of finding a fare. It will also see Denver boost EV accessibility and education in a first-of-its-kind way.
Under a program called “Hertz Electrifying,” the rental car company plans to add more than 5,000 electric cars to its Denver fleet for everyday customers as well as for ongoing rentals to drivers for ride-sharing services like Uber. Hertz and its partner BP Pulse, an electric car charging network owned by the oil giant, support those who rent electric cars. BPwill also install public EV chargers at Denver International Airport and locations throughout the city, targeting underserved communities.
This last point is key to the deal. In addition to building chargers in lower-income neighborhoods, Hertz will provide EVs, tools and training to the city’s technical high school — and offer summer job opportunities through the Denver Youth Employment Program.
“Public-private partnerships are very powerful vehicles,” Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr said in an interview with CNBC. “We see what’s happening in mobility, we see the direction of travel. And so we can be a force together with a very powerful city and mayor to move this forward in a way that I think we all would like to see, which is broad participation in electrification.”
Scherr said Hertz plans to share anonymized location data from its leased EVs with the city to help Denver officials determine where to install new charging stations. He expects some of that data to go to locations in less affluent neighborhoods where rideshare drivers using Hertz EVs tend to live.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said the city’s goal is to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 and to completely electrify the city’s own buildings and fleet by the end of the decade. He told CNBC that Hertz’s plan to target underserved neighborhoods and train local students to operate electric cars could make the deal a “game changer” for the city.
“I’m always concerned about justice and how communities get left behind,” Hancock said in an interview. “I think electrification is a step forward in the shift towards sustainability that will go faster.”
Hertz previously announced plans to buy up to 340,000 electric cars Tesla, Polestar and General Motors through 2027. The company currently has about 40,000 Teslas and Polestars available for lease, Scherr said. He expects that number to double by the end of the year once GM electric cars join the company’s fleet.
Last fall, Hertz and BP Pulse announced that they would be working together install thousands of high-speed EV chargers at Hertz locations across the United States Some of these chargers will be exclusive to the rental car giant, but many — like the program in Denver — will be open to the public.
Hertz hopes to make similar deals with other cities across the country. Scherr said the Denver partnership will serve as a template he and Hancock plan to discuss at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ winter meeting in Washington, D.C., this week.
“It’s powerful for a company like Hertz to step up and say we want to do this to expand the opportunity in this new revolution in the industry,” Hancock said. “That’s a powerful deal. It’s a big deal for Denver and it’s going to be a big deal for the nation as it spreads.”
A Hertz spokesperson confirmed that the company is already actively negotiating with other US cities, but declined to be more specific.
“Obviously we have a motive to see our business grow,” Scherr said. “To the extent that it aligns with what a city like Denver wants to see, which is progress in sustainability, putting more electric vehicles on the streets, creating new jobs in a very fast-changing world of mobility, and advancing electrification, ” he added. in a way spread widely around the neighborhoods like this, it’s good for the Hertz store, it’s good for the city of Denver.”