ESTERO - As it continues to distance itself from the shadow of its 2020 bankruptcy, The Hertz Corp. announced Monday an electronic vehicle program that includes purchasing 100,000 Teslas and installing EV charging stations across its operations worldwide by the end of 2022.
The new program will take effect beginning in early November, and continue expanding through the end of the year, allowing customers to rent Tesla Model 3s at the company’s locations. The company will instal 3,000 charging stations in the U.S. and Europe to support those vehicles.
Hertz also will introduce an expedited booking process through its mobile app.
The company did not disclose how much the project would cost, but called it a "significant investment."
The Lee County-based company says when the order is complete, 20% of its fleet will be made up of electronic vehicles and that a combination of Level2 and DC fast charging stations will be in place in about 65 markets by the end of 2022 and more than 100 markets by the end of 2022.
Hertz does warn the plan could be affected by a chip shortage that's brought the new car industry to its knees this year.
Mark Fields, Hertz’s interim CEO, says in release that the move is part of the company’s effort to “lead the way as a mobility company, starting with the largest EV rental fleet in North America and a commitment to grow our EV fleet and provide the best rental and recharging experience for leisure and business customers around the world.”
For analysts who followed the company throughout bankruptcy process and said it would need to change in order to survive, this commitment to electronic vehicles is seen as step in the right direction, a way for Hertz to re-position itself at the top of the heap of rent-a-car companies.
To help promote the new program. Hertz has enlisted Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady will headline an ad campaign called “Hertz, Let’s Go!” that begins Monday Oct. 25.
The ads – “Plugged In” and “Speed” – show Brady renting, recharging and using an electronic vehicle at a Hertz airport location.
According to a release from the company, “the spots use humor and Brady’s signature ‘Let's Go’ gameday rallying cry to underscore Hertz's reputation for excellence, speed and ease throughout the travel experience.” Not included is the expletive Brady regularly inserts between the words Let’s and Go on gameday.
This is not the first time Hertz has turned to a professional football player to be its spokesman.
The company famously featured O.J. Simpson running through airports for years before cutting ties with the football star when he was charged with murder in the early 1990s.
In recent weeks, the company named Fields interim CEO as it looks for a permanent replacement and announced that it was going to rejoin Wall Street by getting it’s stock listed on the NASDAQ exchange after being booted off the New York Stock Exchange in June 2020.
Hertz exited bankruptcy in July with $5.9 billion in capital, its debt load reduced and a new board, along with the new ticker symbol. It left the protection of the bankruptcy court with about $5 billion in debt gone, including all of its European debt, and with a $2.8 billion credit line and $7 billion in financing for its vehicle inventory.