Hertz is teaming up with the city of Denver and hopes to soon join other cities in building charging infrastructure to support the ongoing transition to electric vehicles.
The partnership is a big step in helping rental car drivers, including first-time or EV renters in unfamiliar territory, overcome the often difficult task of finding a toll. It will also see Denver increase outreach and education around EVs with an enhanced effort.
As part of a program called Hertz Electrifies, the car rental company plans to add more than 5,000 EVs to its Denver fleet for everyday customers, as well as for ongoing rentals to drivers for ride-sharing services like Uber. To support electric vehicle renters, Hertz, the electric charging network owned by oil giant BP, and its partner BP Pulse will also install public EV chargers at Denver International Airport and surrounding areas, with a focus on underserved communities.
This last point is the key to the deal. In addition to building chargers in low-income neighborhoods, Hertz will provide electric vehicles, 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 tools,” Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr told CNBC in an interview. “We’re seeing what’s happening in mobility, we’re seeing the direction of travel. So we can be a force with a very strong city and mayor to move this forward the way we all want it to be. Look, it’s broad participation in electrification.”
Scherr said Hertz plans to share anonymized location data from its rental EVs with the city to help Denver officials determine where to install new charging stations. He expects some of that data to point to sites in the city’s less affluent neighborhoods, where drivers using Hertz EVs are more likely to live.
Denver’s mayor, Michael Hancock, said the city’s goal is to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 and to fully electrify its buildings and parks by the end of the decade. He told CNBC that Hertz’s plan to focus on underserved neighborhoods and train local students to service EVs could make the deal a “game changer” for the city.
“I’m always concerned about equity and how communities are left behind,” Hancock said in an interview. “Electrification, I think, is a progression toward sustainability that will move faster.”
Hertz previously announced plans to buy up to 340,000 electric vehicles from Tesla, Polestar and General Motors by 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 as EVs from GM join the company’s fleet.
Last fall, Hertz and BP Pulse announced that they would partner to install thousands of high-speed EV chargers at Hertz locations across the United States. 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 plans to discuss with Hancock at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington this week.
“It’s powerful for a company like Hertz to step up and say we want to do this to spread the opportunity in this new revolution in this industry,” Hancock said. “It’s a strong 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 in active discussions with other US cities, but declined to be more specific.
“Obviously, we have a motive to see our business grow,” Scherr said. “It’s consistent with what a city like Denver wants to see, promoting sustainability, putting more electric vehicles on the street, creating new jobs in a very rapidly changing world of mobility, and growing electrification in a way that’s widely distributed among the neighborhoods around a given city like this.” , good for Hertz’s business, good for the city of Denver.