Having survived a brush with death, Hertz is aiming for an electric rebirth.
The rental car company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early in the pandemic, announced Monday that it plans to buy 100,000 cars from Tesla by the end of 2022 in a pivot toward electric vehicles.
The company also plans to install thousands of electric vehicle charging stations at its locations.
The moves represent the largest investment by a rental car agency in technology widely considered the future of the automotive business but still viewed with caution by many Americans worried about running out of battery power while driving.
It’s also a concrete sign of where interim CEO Mark Fields, a former CEO of Ford Motor Co., plans to take Hertz as the rental car agency tries to reinvent itself.
And it comes as rental car companies are starved for vehicles, having sold off big chunks of their fleet in 2020 to conserve cash when travel slowed to a halt as COVID-19 began to spread.
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With limited fleets, prices for rental cars have skyrocketed across the industry as demand picked up.
Hertz said it would provide Tesla Model 3 compact cars for rent at airport and neighborhood locations in major markets and certain European cities beginning in early November.
Teslas will make up more than 1 in 5 Hertz vehicles worldwide, though the company acknowledged that a global chip shortage could constrain the availability of vehicles.
The company also announced Monday that it had hired NFL star Tom Brady to help market its EV push.
Hertz first introduced EVs into its fleet in 2011.
Tesla’s stock rose 4.4% in pre-market trading to $949.47. Hertz recently announced plan to go public.
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