Hertz, as one of Tesla’s most significant customers with tens of thousands of EVs in its fleet, has prompted Tesla to develop custom software for the rental company. This software now enables renters in the US to add a rented Tesla to their Tesla app, unlocking a range of features that were previously exclusive to Tesla owners.
Hertz surprised the industry in October 2021 when it announced plans to acquire 100,000 Tesla electric vehicles (EVs) for its rental fleet. While Hertz reported approximately 50,000 electric vehicles in its fleet as of March 2023, and not all of them were Teslas, it is still working toward its ambitious goal. However, Tesla should prioritize its relationship with Hertz, a significant customer.
Tesla has developed software specifically for Hertz rentals, offering customers several benefits. Renters can add a rented Tesla to their Tesla app, which allows them to use their phone as a key instead of a physical card key. For existing Tesla owners, this integration also grants access to their Tesla profile via the app. This means that essential settings, such as seat and mirror positions, are transferred to the rented vehicle, providing a seamless transition.
This capability is made possible by Tesla’s cloud-backed driver profiles introduced last year, enabling Tesla users to switch between cars easily. The feature has been particularly useful for families with multiple Teslas, and it now extends to rented Teslas in the US.
To add the rented car to the Tesla app, users only need to scan the QR code displayed on the car’s screen. This action automatically configures the phone as a key for the duration of the rental. For those with a Tesla driver profile saved in the cloud, this profile is also uploaded to the rented vehicle. This integration allows renters to enjoy the full benefits of owning a Tesla, whether it’s their first experience with the brand or not.
While this feature is undoubtedly practical for Tesla-savvy customers, it may not impress those who are unfamiliar with electric vehicles or Tesla’s technology. There have been reports of individuals, unfamiliar with Tesla’s manual door release, encountering issues when the battery lost all charge during a rental, leading to unfavorable experiences with the brand.
In another Reddit story, a Tesla Model 3 owner faced challenges with a rented Tesla from Hertz. After initially setting up the vehicle to their preferences via the app, they later found that they couldn’t use the phone key, and their Tesla profile had disappeared. It appears this is a standard procedure with rented Teslas and can lead to user confusion and frustration.
In light of these experiences, both Tesla and Hertz need to ensure a smooth and user-friendly transition for customers renting Tesla vehicles, especially those who may be less familiar with the technology. Proper education and support can go a long way in enhancing the overall rental experience and fostering positive impressions of electric vehicles and Tesla.
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