Europcar Joins Renault to Offer Electric Car Hire

by Alister POOLE on September 14, 2009

In a deal that will be finalized on September 16 at Frankfurt’s International Motor Show, Europcar will join forces with Renault to offer customers electric cars by the year 2011.  Europcar, which is the largest car hire agency in all of Europe, hopes that the pairing will not only help the environment, but also help generate new types of revenue streams in the suddenly harsh business of car rental.  Europcar hopes this move will set a new industry standard and allow them to produce direct revenue from electric car refueling.

The global recession, coupled with concerns over the swine flu outbreak have made this a tough year in the travel and tourism industry, and no segment has been hit harder than car hire agencies.  This is why some in the industry are looking for new and innovative ways to set themselves apart from the competition and find new ways to generate money.

Not only does Europcar plan to make electric vehicles available to their customers, but they will also build the infrastructure to support such a move by using its extensive network of rental car offices as refueling stations.  The plan is to allow customers to pre-pay for electricity and return the cars with an empty tank, thus allowing Europcar to create additional revenue that is currently being lost at the gas station.

Renault plans to introduce its new line of cars in early 2011, and Europcar will immediately add them to their growing fleet.  However, they are not the first as some car hire companies in the U.S. are already offering electric cars and even McDonalds has started adding electric fueling stations at some of their fast food chains.

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