As we speculated earlier this month, your first test drive in an electric vehicle might actually be in a rental car. Thanks to Enterprise and Nissan, you will now be able to drive one of the most anticipated EVs on the market--even if you don't buy it.
Enterprise Holdings Inc, the car rental chain that owns three rental firms--Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo and National--has ordered 500 Nissan Leaf electric hatchbacks to add to their fleets. The Leafs are due to be delivered in January.
The vehicles will be put into rental fleets in Seattle; Portland, Oregon; Los Angeles; San Diego; both Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona; and Nashville and Knoxville in Tennessee.
The company will also provide vehicle charging stations at some additional locations across 30 U.S. cities in the fall. And Enterprise pledged to buy further electric vehicles from other manufacturers when they become available.
The news will please Nissan, who aim to sell at least 20,000 Leaf EVs in the first year and have planned global production of half a million vehicles by the end of 2012. News of the Enterprise deal may encourage other rental firms to follow suit.
For those who want to buy rather than rent, Nissan is taking orders for the 2011 Leaf now and the price of admission is around $32,000 before federal and state tax incentives, and deliveries are due to begin in October.
We've just driven the 2011 Nissan Leaf around San Jose, California. Our assessment: It's worth waiting for.
We think renting a Leaf would be perfect for hitting those sunny resorts or taking a scenic tour around a city.
Even if the 100-mile range wouldn't quite get you the 180 miles from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon on that sightseeing holiday, you could always stop by Flagstaff on the way...