Last Updated on January 15, 2024 by Michael

Photo credit: Hertz

Want to rent a Tesla? Maybe you are curious about driving an electric car. Or perhaps you want to see if the driving experience lives up to its hype. Whatever your motivation, it’s easier to rent a Tesla now that more firms are including these cars in their fleets.

Hertz is Number One for Renting a Tesla

One rental car company stands out as the best place to rent a Tesla. Just ask Tom Brady. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback is now plugging Teslas for Hertz, which now boasts the largest electric vehicle (EV) rental fleet in North America and one of the largest in the world. This portion of Hertz’s fleet is primarily comprised of Tesla Model 3s.

Hertz is the first rental car company to make a significant commitment to EVs and its investment in the necessary charging infrastructure will encourage renters to take advantage of this growing trend in a major way. EVs will eventually comprise more than 25 percent of the Hertz global fleet.

Hertz is going to be offering the Tesla Model 3 at Hertz airport and neighborhood locations in U.S. major markets and select cities in Europe. The Model 3 is clearly the EV to beat these days, as the best-selling electric car in history, and has just become the first electric vehicle to top monthly sales of new cars in Europe, as reported by Bloomberg News. With a standard range of 262 miles, it will meet the average renter’s needs. Best of all, renters don’t need to worry about paying for gas with an EV rental. 

What It’s Like to Drive a Tesla

To unlock the Tesla Model 3, just place the key card near the cirle on the outside of the driver’s door, much like you would to unlock a hotel room. Inside the cabin, there are almost no buttons and switches, apart from window and seat controls. To turn on the car, place the key card on the console or in the cup holders, press the brake and shift the car into gear. You can move the key card once the car is on.

Nearly all car functions are controlled through the 15-inch touchscreen on the dashboard. Think of it as a giant iPad that’s easy and intuitive, whether you are in driving mode, route planning or streaming media. You can even access the car’s owner’s manual from the touchscreen.

The gear selector stick is just behind the right side of the steering wheel. Push the stick up for reverse and down for drive. For park, press the button on the end of the gear stick. The touchscreen will show your gear selection. The braking mode increases battery charge and available drive time by automatically applying the brakes when you take your foot off the gas. Instead of rolling to a stop, the car rapidly slows down.

Eight separate cameras let you know what’s going on all around the car, and the autopilot features automatic steering. Not to be confused with self-driving mode, this feature assists with maneuvers like parking and lane-switching on highways.

The car turns off automatically when you exit the vehicle, remove the key card and close the doors. You can also use the touchscreen to power down the car.

For more, Hertz has a good primer for first-time Tesla drivers.

Where to Charge a Tesla

Worried about where you’ll recharge? Teslas can be charged at more than 40,000 EV charging locations nationwide, including Hertz, Tesla, third-party and public locations.

To charge, remove the charging station connector from its dock, open the car’s charge port and insert the connector into the charge port. When charging is complete, press the connector button until the charge port logo turns white. Then remove the connector and return it to its dock. For more on charging, Hertz has a good explainer.

Hertz is installing thousands of chargers throughout its location network, so customers who rent a Model 3 will have access to 3,000 Tesla supercharging stations throughout the U.S. and Europe. Hertz plans to have a combination of Level 2 and DC fast charging in approximately 65 markets by the end of 2022, and in more than 100 markets by the end of 2023.

Where Else to Rent a Tesla

You can rent a Tesla from Enterprise through its Exotics division, as well as through National, Avis and Sixt. It must be said, however, that for each of these companies, the supply of Teslas is often limited to only a few major airport locations.

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In addition, the car-sharing platform Turo offers the opportunity to rent from Tesla owners. A story in Business Insider recounts a positive experience of renting a Tesla through Turo.

Other local companies, such as Tesloop in Southern California and WhiteCar in the U.K., also offer the option to book a Tesla.

Incidentally, Tesloop has served as a long-term test bed for Tesla, which had decided upon an eight-year, infinite mile warranty. Much of the Tesloop fleet travels between 17,000 and 20,000 miles per month, shuttling between various sites (either with a Tesloop employee driver or a renter driving). And while Tesloop has the highest-mileage Tesla vehicles on the planet, the company does offer the cheapest option to drive a Tesla vehicle on the Los Angeles to San Diego loop.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Tesla?

Renting a Tesla is not cheap. It’s common to see rates over $200 per day, after taxes. Yet renters may find that the rental rate is only a part of an expensive drive. After all, with an MSRP over $100,000, neither your personal auto insurance nor credit card rental car damage waiver—even the paid options from American Express—likely cover exotic vehicles or exceptionally expensive vehicles. Some credit card providers, including Chase, specifically do not cover “high-value electric vehicles” like Teslas. In other words, you will likely need to purchase insurance coverage that you might ordinarily be able to waive with a less exotic car.

What to Know About Driving a Rented Tesla

If you’re used to driving a traditional gas-fueled car, there are a few things to know about Teslas. For starters, almost all functions can controlled via the key fob or onboard panel. The vehicles are exemplary in the use of cutting-edge technology.

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Finding charging stations has become much easier in the past few years. If you’re planning to rent a Tesla for a long road trip, you need to plan where to recharge at Tesla Supercharger sites. After all, it can take up to an hour to fully recharge the battery of an electric vehicle if you start on empty. Timing your charges to coincide with meals is a smart strategy. During a trip, the vehicle needs to be recharged to continue operation (and recharged before returning, otherwise the rental car company may impose a fee).