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Why You Should Rent an EV Before Buying One

Rent an EV before you decide to ditch the gas station for good.

family buying a new electric car.
Estrada Anton/Shutterstock.com
Electric vehicles are fun, exciting, and new, but it's an entirely different ownership experience. You should probably rent one first to ensure the technology is right for you.

Buying a new car is a big decision, but buying a new electric vehicle is an even bigger one. You’ll have to change how you drive, where you stop to charge up on specific routes, and more. So, here are a few things to know and why you might want to rent an EV before buying one.

While the question of “should I buy or lease an EV?” is a tough choice and depends on your unique situation, renting one first is undoubtedly a good idea. Being able to take an extended test drive with this new automotive technology can answer a lot of questions for first-time buyers.

Renting a Tesla or electric vehicle before buying one can help you test the range, find nearby charging stations to see if they’ll work for you, and ensure it has the features and value you’re after for your hard-earned money. 

Rent an EV to Test the Range

Tesla rental at Hertz

While most electric vehicles available today have plenty of range, it’s still a big topic of discussion for current or potential owners. People talk about “range anxiety” or how long the battery will last in the cold, so getting first-hand experience is a good idea.

Obviously, you can’t test out the range unless you can rent the exact model you’re planning on buying. However, that’s not too big of a concern. The bigger idea is to test drive an electric vehicle for more than a day or two on vacation and experience real-world range situations.

Rent an electric car for a week and use it as a daily driver. Take it on your work commute, out to dinner, and see how it meshes with your lifestyle. This will help potential buyers get a good feel for how an EV drives, its range, the increased torque, one-pedal driving, EV features, and how different driving styles can and will affect range. Just like aggressive driving uses more gas, it’ll drain the battery faster too.

A quick test drive at the dealership might be enough for some people, but with a purchase as big as an EV, it’s probably a good idea to rent one first and get the full picture.

Find and Get Familiar With EV Charging Stations

All current Tesla models lined up

Nowadays, everyone wants to talk about electric vehicle features, self-driving, range, and things of that nature. And while those are all important, perhaps the charging infrastructure is the biggest aspect of whether or not an EV is for you.

That’s because charging stations aren’t everywhere like gasoline. Sure, you can go anywhere in California and likely find plenty of places to recharge your EV, especially if it’s a Tesla. However, chargers for other EVs, particularly fast charging stations, aren’t as easy to find. Depending on where you live will significantly impact your ability to charge the vehicle.

Popular tech YouTuber MKBHD recently shared a video suggesting that “the charging infrastructure is just as important to the electric car experience as the car itself.” Not only do I agree, but it’s something not talked about enough.

He talks about finding a fast station, hoping it works and isn’t broken, then needing an adapter or downloading an app first to pay. It’s not as seamless as stopping for gas, which is a hurdle new owners must face or at least understand before buying an EV.

It’s worth noting that the charging infrastructure and speeds are rapidly improving, with new locations appearing across the United States. The situation will improve as more EVs hit the streets and Tesla allows non-Tesla vehicles to use its Supercharging stations.

Still, we’ve seen countless stories of someone buying an EV, going on a trip, or driving somewhere, then realizing they can’t make it to a fast charger before the battery dies. Instead, they settle for a nearby slow charger that takes forever. Just know that a bit of thought and effort to map out fast locations will ensure the best driving experience.

Don’t get me wrong, charging isn’t a deal breaker, but it’s nowhere near as easy as stopping for gasoline. At least not yet. But again, this will get better over time.

You can always install a charger at home, but unless you’re willing to spend top dollar, it likely won’t offer the fast speeds you’ll find at dedicated charging stations throughout town. Charging capabilities and stations will be vital if you have a long commute or travel frequently.

Test Out All the Fancy Features

Hummer EV branding and logo.
Josh Hendrickson / Review Geek

Whether you’re looking at a Tesla Model 3, the Rivian R1T and all its features, or the upcoming Chevy Blazer EV, try and find a way to test all the features. Autopilot is a significant feature on Tesla vehicles, and if you’re interested in a Tesla, rent one from Hertz and try it out. Keep in mind that Tesla’s self-driving beta is currently under recall, but there are several other features you can try on a rental.

Electric vehicles have a lot of upgrades, self-driving capabilities, and other smarts or safety features that you could enjoy. On the other hand, some of those might not seem worth the added investment, especially when many are available on other gas-powered vehicles.

For example, testing out autopilot, lane assist, driver monitoring systems, regenerative braking, or one-pedal driving could help you decide if an electric vehicle is right for you. With how expensive most electric cars cost, renting one first could help you decide if those features are worth paying for.

Consider Renting or Leasing an EV First

2024 Chevy Equinox EV

Several affordable electric cars are coming in 2023, and many could be available to lease. And while leasing might not be an option for everyone, it’s a way for those interested in an electric vehicle to jump in without buying one. You can test the range, features, and charging without dropping $50k on a 72-month auto loan.

Even with leasing options and cheaper EVs on the way, we still think it’s a good idea to test out the technology first with a rental. So, where can you rent an EV?

It turns out a lot of places have electric cars available. You can rent several EV makes and models from Enterprise, Hertz, and Avis, or even try the Turo app to enjoy one for a few days. You can even rent an EV directly from Nissan.

It’ll cost a little extra to rent an EV over a traditional vehicle, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. There’s certainly a learning curve with electrification, but you’ll probably love it.

So, in closing, before you decide to fork over a substantial monthly payment on an EV, rent one first to see if you like swapping the gas station for a charger.

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »