Last Updated on April 24, 2023 by Kristin
The popularity of electric cars is surging with drivers who are choosing them over their gas-guzzling counterparts. As a result, major car rental companies are bringing more electric vehicle (EV) models into their fleets. If you’re interested in taking an EV for a spin, know that Avis does rent electric cars.
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One of the best perks of renting an electric vehicle from Avis is that you will not pay for gas. However, renting an EV comes with some other considerations. For example, finding charging stations is a learning curve. And you should confirm whether your insurance will cover the vehicle.
Which Electric Cars Does Avis Offer?
Avis offers a relatively wide range of electric vehicles, which it separates into three separate classes. However, the fleet of EVs is still more limited than gas-powered vehicles. So, not all locations may have these cars during your desired reservation time.
Avis’ “Standard Elite SUV Electric” category includes SUV electric vehicles such as the mid-size Tesla Model Y SUV. The “Intermediate Elite Electric” class includes the Tesla Model 3 and similar vehicles. Avis says these cars generally have an average battery range of about 250 miles. The ‘Compact Crossover Electric’ class of car includes electric SUVs such as the Kia Niro EV. Avis says the cars in this class have a range of about 250 miles.
Keep in mind that you can only rent a Tesla Model 3 from Avis on the West Coast. As of spring 2023, availability is limited to certain airport locations in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington.
Avis’ Electric Car Policies
Avis now includes specific policies in its terms and conditions aimed at EV rentals, which cover topics like charging levels, roadside assistance and some special instructions for Tesla rentals. Here’s a summary of the most important points, including a fee that kicks in for not charging the car sufficiently before returning it.
Normally renting a car requires an agreement to handle the fuel costs when you return it. Typically, this looks like filling up the tank on your own, pre-paying for fuel or paying for the rental car company’s refueling service.
Since EVs don’t use fuel, rental car companies are still figuring out how to handle the process of returning them. Avis says in its terms and conditions for the U.S. and Canada that it will rent EVs with at least 70% battery, and charge a $35 fee if the car is returned at a level below that. However, that fee doubles to $70 if a renter returns the car with a battery charged to 10% or less.
Avis’ terms also specify that it does not allow one-way rentals with electric cars. Anyone who tries to drop off the EV at another location will not only be on the hook for getting it back to where it came from, but will pay loss-of-use fees equivalent to a day’s rental charge for each day it was out of service. So, make sure you return an Avis EV at its original location or risk paying several days’ worth of rental fees.
If you get stranded in an EV rented from Avis due to low battery levels, be prepared to pay for the towing costs back to the rental location. If the EV breaks down for another reason, Avis will provide a gas-powered vehicle. Avis also specifies that all charging equipment and key cards must be returned with the EVs, and that the loss damage waiver (LDW) does not cover these items.
Special Tesla Terms
Avis also specifies some special terms for Tesla renters, which mainly have to do with recharging these vehicles through the special Tesla Supercharger charging stations. Basically, Tesla renters have to pay any fees to use these chargers as well as any “idle fees” that kick in when leaving the car on the charger for too long.
Will Your Insurance Cover an Electric Car Rental?
Before renting an EV, it’s wise to make sure your personal auto insurance policy will cover the value of the rental. Since EVs typically cost more than standard vehicles due to their complex batteries and high-tech components, check to make sure whether your personal auto insurance or credit card has a sufficient coverage level for these vehicles. Also, be sure to check whether those policies would cover a problem with the battery or any other electrical issues.
How to Rent an EV from Avis
Renting an EV from Avis is relatively straightforward, but requires a few extra steps than searching for a standard rental. You can choose your rental car location, date and pickup time as you would for any car. Scroll down until you see one of the above-mentioned vehicle classes with the word “electric” in the title.
If you do not see any electric vehicle classes, it may mean that no EVs are available at the pickup location.
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