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Hertz adds more EV options

Rental car giant partners with Coda Automotive to augment its California rental fleet with 100 electric sedans that get up to 120 miles on a charge.

Hertz is adding 100 Coda EVs to its California rental fleet for 2011 as part of its Hertz Global EV initiative to introduce electric car options to its customers.

Starting in 2011, Hertz will offer a total of 100 Coda EV sedans to its California rental fleet, the company announced Tuesday.

Coda's four-door sedan gets between 90 and 120 miles on a single charge, and can be plugged in to a standard household outlet as well as a fast-charging EV station.

The deal is part of the Hertz Global EV program, in which the company plans over a period of time to add all-electric vehicle options, EV charging stations, and a car-sharing program to its existing rental car business.

In February, Hertz announced it was partnering with Nissan to offer the Leaf EV starting in 2011 at certain city rental locations in the U.S. and Europe. Then in September at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) the auto rental giant announced its Hertz Global EV program and commitment to promoting electric vehicles.

Hertz already offers a "Green Collection" in its U.S. rental car lineup that includes the Smart ForTwo, the Toyota Prius, and the Nissan Altima hybrid, among others.

In addition to offering an EV option to rental car customers, the change provides a showcase to participating automakers and a venue through which drivers interested in leasing or owning an EV can experience an extended test drive.

Hertz' latest NeverLost GPS system informs drivers of the nearest Hertz drop-off location, in addition to offering weather updates, airport info, Yellow Pages listings, and typical GPS information. It's possible the company plans to also use the tool to inform EV drivers of the nearest available charging station.

Hertz has repeatedly said that because it already has an established network of rental locations, it is in a unique position to get its clients--consisting of "urban drivers, university students, travelers, and corporations"--interested in electric vehicles.

A recent study found that fleet buyers may have the biggest influence on whether electric vehicles are widely adopted.