Hertz collaborates with Chinese carmaker BYD to rent EVs in the US

BYD E6Chinese cars may be coming to America soon, but only as rentals. Hertz recently allied itself with Chinese automaker BYD (“Build Your Dreams”), renting electric cars in the city of Shenzhen. The American company plans to expand the program to other cities in China and, eventually, the U.S.

The car in question, the e6, is a midsize hatchback. It costs the equivalent of $58,000 in China, although, according to the New York Times, it may be cheaper in the United States. It will be ready for sale in the U.S. by the end of the year. “We feel the e6 is clearly ready for the American market,” said Hertz senior vice president Rich Broome, “the performance, style, and size are all very good.” The e6 sports a large, 60 kilowatt-hour battery pack that can go roughly 185 miles between charges, a figure that eclipses the Nissan Leaf’s 80-100-mile range. However, the e6 is a new car from a country that is new to the motor industry, so build quality and reliability are unknown quantities. This car completely lacks anything even resembling style.

The Hertz-BYD partnership has been somewhat successful in China, but it has also been helped by government incentives. “We get a lot of support from the Chinese government,” said Jack Hidary, leader of Hertz’s global EV program. The Shenzhen government fast-tracked the installation of charging stations, something the U.S. government has only done on a limited basis.BYD E6 Hertz

In the U.S., releasing taxpayer money for EV charging stations doesn’t make much sense because so few electric vehicles are on the road. The Chinese government has the opposite attitude: it wants people to drive BYD’s cars, so it builds charging stations to stimulate demand. That could be enough to create a new market for cars out of thin air. Michael Austin, vice president of BYD America, admitted that very few Chinese drivers actually rent cars. “The rental market is still very young in China,” he told the Times, “many of the cars are being rented to chauffeurs.” Hertz plans to expand its EV program to Beijing and Shanghai, which offer similar stimulus programs, in the near future.

The lack of a government-funded charging infrastructure in U.S. cities makes the success of an electric car rental program a bit dubious. For the same reason, BYD will only offer the e6 to fleet buyers at its launch. The company loaned a few e6s to the Los Angeles County Housing Authority in 2010 to test the waters. When it does go on sale to individual consumers, the e6 will face stiff competition from the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, and electric versions of conventional cars like the Ford Focus. Again, it is unclear how the e6 will do without massive government subsidies. In China, e6 buyers get the equivalent of $19,000 in government rebates. Most Americans won’t buy a Volt because of its high price, even with a $7,500 tax credit. Even if the e6 ends up costing less in the U.S. than it does in China, it still might be too much for most buyers.

Hertz’s EV rental program and the simultaneous launch of a Chinese car in the U.S. could mark a couple of historic firsts, or it could be a double disaster. Either way, it will be a good test of whether electric motoring is really possible without massive government intervention.


Lime clocks 20 million rides as its bikes and scooters arrive in Oz

Lime only launched its app-based scooter and bikesharing service in 2017 but its riders have already completed 20 million rides, with half of them taking place in the last two months alone. And now it's launching in Australia.

The most reliable cars ever made just keep going, and going, and going ...

We all dread the thought of our car turning into a money pit, but choosing a dependable vehicle from the start can help us rack up countless care-free miles. Here, we've rounded up some of the most reliable cars available.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Waymo will launch its commercial autonomous ridesharing service in December

Waymo will launch a commercial ridesharing service using self-driving cars in December, according to a new report. As previously discussed by Waymo, the service will operate in specific areas around Phoenix, Arizona.

Quick! Someone petition Ferrari to make this luscious tribute to the F40

Ferrari looks toward the future as it designs hypercars like the LaFerrari. Designer Samir Sadikhov turned his eye toward the past to create a modern interpretation of the 1987 F40 without venturing into full retro territory.

BMW’s 2020 M340i will show off mix of tech and luxury at the Los Angeles show

The 2020 3 Series represents the seventh generation of BMW's bread-and-butter luxury sedan. Where previous generations emphasized the driving experience, the 2020 3 Series focuses more on tech than ever before.

Where are you going this weekend? These 5 off-road vehicles say 'anywhere'

The body-on-frame SUV is going extinct, but there are still several options for buyers looking to skip the asphalt. To help you sort the good from the bad, we've rounded up the best off-roaders currently available.

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.

Lime’s first carsharing service motors into Seattle this week

Lime may be better known for its app-based bike and scooter rental services, but in Seattle, Washington this week it's launching its very first carsharing service, similar to Car2go and Zipcar.

Land Rover shows its artsy side by previewing the 2020 Range Rover Evoque

Land Rover made life-sized wire sculptures to preview the 2020 Range Rover Evoque. The all-new SUV will make its debut during a private event held in London on November 22, and deliveries will begin in 2019.

These headlights have 4 color settings to help save lives under all conditions

Boslla headlights are an easy-to-install solution to achieve all-weather lighting for your vehicle. After a quick ten-minute install, these lights have up to four settings to get you through anything.

Car parts maker ZF is using drones to deliver components to its factories

ZF recently became the first entity in Germany to receive approval to use drones to deliver spare parts, and the company now uses them to deliver parts from its central warehouses to its workshops.

The DBX SUV will go where no Aston Martin has gone before

When it launches in 2019, the Aston Martin DBX will be the British automaker's first SUV. In the meantime, camouflaged DBX prototypes will undergo strenuous testing around the world.