Car rental company Hertz is to allow customers to rent electric vehicles from as early as next year, the firm confirmed last week.

Select rental sites in the US and Europe will offer the Nissan LEAF from early 2011, a couple of months after the vehicle goes on sale in Japan, the US and Europe.

The LEAF is an electric vehicle powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Its range is around 160 km and it has a top speed of 90mph. The zero-emission hatchback can carry up to five passengers and be recharged at home or at a fast-charging station.

Hertz is also planning to include the LEAF in the vehicle selection offered by its car-sharing service Connect by Hertz. This would dramatically increase the number of EV drivers, promoting the technology and hopefully further encouraging EV takeup amongst new car buyers.

Although electric car rental is a rapidly-growing feature in major cities, Hertz will be the first provider to take the scheme international. The Paris Autolib service, in conjunction with Avis, launched last year whilst London mayor Boris Johnson is working on an EV rental scheme for the British capital.


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