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New study reveals unexpected impact of car rentals on EV adoption — here’s how it could change everything

“It’s making a big contribution to educating people about EVs.”

"It’s making a big contribution to educating people about EVs."

Photo Credit: iStock

Though the number of electric vehicle sales continues to grow worldwide, the adoption rate has slowed down in recent months, causing some concern among investors and automakers. 

But a new study shows that one area may be critical to continued EV adoption: rental cars.

According to the study published in the journal Energy, rental EVs can go a long way toward reducing consumers’ fears around electric cars, as reported by CleanTechnica. 

One of the significant barriers to entry when it comes to eco-friendly EVs has been “range anxiety” — the fear of being stranded in an EV with an empty battery and no access to a charging station. In addition to range anxiety, many people are simply trepid about using a new type of technology they are unfamiliar with. 

Another barrier to EV adoption is price. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, data from Cox Automotive found that the average EV costs $2,800 more than the average gas-powered vehicle — although that cost can be mitigated with tax incentives and the long-term cost of gasoline, which is more expensive than electricity.

However, renting an EV is much less of a commitment than buying one, and the study in Energy found that a positive experience with a rental EV could help alleviate many of those concerns.

“EV rental service is an effective operation mode which not only reduces customers’ concerns about taking a risk of purchasing an expensive and uncertain commodity, but also can promote the sustainable development of EVs in terms of transportation, environmental, and social benefits,” the study said.

Some of the commenters on the CleanTechnica article about the topic agreed.

“Here (Ljubljana, Slovenia) we have a car sharing service that exclusively offers EVs. I’m sure it’s making a big contribution to educating people about EVs. Once you drive it, it’s hard not to get excited,” wrote one commenter.

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