Hertz recently announced a new rental scheme in my home town of Milton Keynes, called Hertz On Demand. The idea is a 24/7 self-service rental scheme with no joining fees. One major difference to the Milton Keynes setup is that all the cars on offer are electric. This is partly due to the massive investment from the local council, who have provided charging points throughout the city.
Rental of an all-electric Nissan Leaf costs just £5.00 an hour, or £40 for a full 24. Included in this cost is the insurance, roadside assistance, maintenance and cleaning. There are also no mileage fees with the electric vehicles, so you can drive as long as they still have juice.
You initially sign up online at the Hertz On Demand website, enter a few details such as name, address, credit card, and driving licence number. You then send them a scan of both parts of your licence so they can check everything out. After that you wait patiently for your Hertz RFID tag to be posted to you.
Once you receive the tag you are good to go. Car reservations can be made via phone, online, or by the iOS Hertz On Demand app.
Booking the car via the iPhone app couldn’t have been easier, enter the dates and times you want to start and end your rental, press continue and you are shown a list of vehicles closest to you. Select the vehicle, confirm the details, and then confirm the booking.
Each step of the way you are shown how much the rental will cost you. You then receive a text message confirming your booking, the location, and reg of the vehicle. If you aren’t sure where to go, the app will even guide you directly to your ride.
After you have found your car, you need to get in it. This is where the RFID tag comes into play, hold it against the card reader in the windscreen and the car unlocks. That’s it, no keys to worry about at all.
As the Leaf is electric you obviously don’t get a fuel card as you would with a normal ‘On Demand’ rental. Instead you get a ‘Chargemaster’ card, mine was in the visor holder.
Again this is RFID based, you hold the card against the charging pole and the locked plug socket pops open. There’s something very strange about unplugging a car, and winding up the bright orange cable; it just feels like you should have a lawnmower in front of you, and the smell of freshly cut grass to accompany it.
Once inside, and before you set off, the hands free screen flashes at you asking if there’s any damage on the car. If there is, a member of the Hertz team will give you a call to make a note of it. The small hands free screen lets you contact Hertz via phone at any time, it also enables you to end your rental early, plus it provides you with your mileage, and rental duration at the end.
And that’s it, you’re off! My Leaf was showing a range of about 70 miles when I started that day, but due to it being minus degrees outside (and inside) I had the heating on, which saps precious miles. In the end I only managed 29.8 miles, I could have gone further with 8 miles still showing on the gauge; but I didn’t want to push it too much!
Driving the Nissan Leaf was brilliant, and even with the limited range I drove everywhere I needed to. But there’s always a nagging thought in the back of your mind to keep a beady eye on the miles left.
Each car is equipped with GPS, so no matter where you park it you can find it again from the Hertz iPhone app; handy if you’re in unfamiliar surroundings. Plugging the car in was again easy to do, inside the glove box is a set of brief instructions on how to charge the car, and a quick start guide on the basic functions.
Before I knew it 5 hours had shot by, I drove the Leaf back to where I started. The hands free screen asked me if I wanted to end the rental, so I obliged, plugged the Leaf in for the next user, and locked the doors with a swipe of the tag.
Whenever I have previously rented cars it has been a chore, filling out paperwork at a dreary office, being surrounded by suits, then waiting around for what seems like an age. Hertz On Demand is so quick and easy to use, booking vehicles is stupidly simple, finding them is a doddle and once with your car it’s a piece of cake.
The whole setup and system was smooth and painless. Nothing went wrong, and everything worked as it should. What’s even better is once you become a member, and have your RFID tag, you can rent any of the 700 vehicles, located over six countries worldwide. It’s a great alternative to using taxis in unfamiliar cities, as you have the freedom to explore on your own. Or if you don’t own a car, but need one for a few hours it’s also the perfect option.
Hertz On Demand is the 21st century way to rent cars.
Hertz On Demand – Easy to set-up, simple to use, very affordable, the modern way to rent a car!