Last Updated on November 6, 2023 by Kristin
Renting an electric vehicle (EV) can bring many benefits, including saving money on gas and being a better option for the environment. However, electric cars can come with several additional costs you may not be used to. You might incur an extra fee if you return the eclectic vehicle with a low charge. Here are some potential consequences of not recharging your EV rental.
In general, rental car companies expect you to return the car charged to the same level as when you picked it up. If you don’t recharge before returning the EV, you could incur fees.
Typically, car rental companies charge a fee for returning a gas-powered vehicle with less fuel than it had at the beginning of the rental period, unless renters opt for a prepaid fuel option.
Similarly, major rental car companies typically have rules for recharging before returning an electric vehicle after a trip. EV renters can charge the car on their own, or prepay for the rental car company to do it themselves.
Recharging fees generally start at about $35, but can increase if the car battery charge is below a certain level. EVs can be damaged if the battery is drained too much. Some rental car companies tack on an extra fee when EVs come back with an extremely low charge.
Here’s a breakdown of what each rental car brand will charge for not returning an EV with an appropriate charge. Keep in mind that this is only a guide — these rules are subject to change as brands tweak their EV policies. For the most up-to-date information, check the fine print in your rental car policy or ask about charging fees at the counter.
Hertz will not charge a penalty as long as you return your EV with the same charge as when you picked it up. The company charges a $35 fee if you return the EV with less charge than it had at the time of rental. Hertz Gold members pay a discounted fee of $25.
According to Hertz’s EV policy, you’ll incur an extra $25 fee if you return the car with a charge of less than 10%. So, returning a car with less than 10% battery would cost a combined penalty of $60.
At Avis, renters must return EVs with a battery at least 70% charged to avoid a fee. Return the car at a lower charge —- but more than 10% —- and you pay $35. If you return the car with less than 10% battery power, Avis charges an additional “low charge fee” of $35 — meaning a total penalty of $70.
Just like sister company Avis, Budget requires you to return EVs with a charge of at least 70% to avoid fees. Returning the car at a lower charge above 10% will cost a $35 fee. Any EV returned with less than a 10% charge will double the penalty. That means returning an electric car with less than a 10% charge will cost a whopping $70.
Enterprise charges a fee “if the vehicle is returned with less charge than when rented.” However, it does not specify how much the fee is.
Like Enterprise, its sister company, National Car Rental’s EV charging policy is not specific. But renters pay a fee to recharge an EV “if the vehicle is returned with less charge than when rented.” However, it is unclear how much that penalty is.
Renters must return the vehicle at the same charge level when rented. If not, they will be charged a $35 fee. If renters return the vehicle with a charge of less than 20%, Sixt charges an additional $20 fee. So, returning the car with a charge of less than 20% would cost $55 in total.
To avoid any confusion, be sure to confirm the recharging fee and terms at the counter.