Enthralled by Tesla vehicles? Sitting on the waitlist for the Tesla Model 3 like many of our friends? While it's not possible to move up the Model 3 waitlist (without upgrading the Model 3 to make it cost as much as the Model S), there are many options to rent Teslas, whether through affiliates of traditional rental car companies or through start-up firms that specialize in Tesla vehicles. After all, what other vehicle on the highway can be placed into "Launch Mode" and accelerate from 0-60 in under 2.3 seconds!
I giggled like a schoolgirl in Launch Mode!
Teslas seem to allow almost all functions to be controlled via the key-fob or onboard panel. The vehicles are exemplary in the use of technology. We even frequently see that Tesla sends out software updates to make vehicle corrections or improvements, such as improving braking to get a recommendation from Consumer Reports. We hope they never get hacked!
There's also the different / not-so-good aspect for long range drivers -- in my case, it was a projected 70 minutes for a full charge at the nearest Tesla Supercharger site. After all, a battery-operated vehicle needs to be charged / and re-charged to continue operation (and needs to be recharged before returning, otherwise the rental car company may impose a fee). In fact, some companies renting Teslas limit the number of vehicles on routes simply because of the waits at the limited number of Supercharger stations!
Where Can One Rent a Tesla?
There are two "traditional" rental car companies where a renter can book a Tesla -- Enterprise (through their Exotics division) and Hertz (in their Dream Cars Collection). However, it's important to note that finding a Tesla at Hertz is more of a challenge than it had been in the past. Our last trip to Los Angeles was during a Tesla recall and there was a line of Teslas parked around the edge of Hertz's lot with notes the vehicles couldn't be rented. Few Tesla vehicles have been available at Hertz for rental since, although we did see a few of Hertz's used Teslas get sold through the Nashville office after repair.
The easiest way to rent a Tesla through a traditional rental car company? Given the lack of availability at Hertz, visiting the Enterprise Exotics website would be the most fruitful option. Sadly, AutoSlash can't help with discounts via Enterprise Exotics, as that's a separate division from the traditional rental car companies owned by Enterprise Holdings (Alamo, Enterprise, and National). However, AutoSlash could search for discounts for rentals from Hertz's Dream Cars, although it's unlikely the renter can find availability -- these vehicles are exceptionally popular!
What are the Non-Traditional Options to Rent a Tesla?
There are a number of start-ups that have made a push to offer Tesla vehicles. Turo has been reported to pay Tesla owners to list their vehicles on the site but the company doesn't specialize in Teslas. Other companies, such as Tesloop in Southern California (between Los Angeles and San Diego) and WhiteCar in the U.K., offer options where a renter can book a Tesla for a limited number of routings (Tesloop) or locations (WhiteCar). AutoSlash can't help with any of those options but it's much easier to rent a Tesla than to buy a Tesla!
Incidentally, Tesloop has served as an (Inadvertent) long-term test bed for Tesla, which had decided upon an 8-year, infinite mile warranty. Much of the Tesloop fleet travels between 17,000 and 20,000 miles per month, shuttling between various sites (either with a Tesloop employee driver or a renter driving). And while Tesloop has the highest mileage Tesla vehicles on the planet (literally), the company does offer the cheapest option to drive a Tesla vehicle on the Los Angeles to San Diego loop (prices start at $49).
Otherwise, What Are the Costs?
The short answer is "not cheap". The less expensive of the two Teslas I drove would have an MSRP of $108,000, so rates over $200 per day (after taxes) are common. Supercars have super prices! Yet renters may find that the rental rate is the first part of an expensive drive. After all, with an MSRP over $100,000, neither my personal insurance nor a credit card rental car damage waiver -- even the paid options from American Express -- is going to cover exotic vehicles or exceptionally expensive vehicles. Fun in a Tesla might just see the renter purchasing insurance coverage that would ordinarily be ignored -- while WhiteCar vehicles come with insurance, Turo vehicles ordinarily would not and rental car companies would only provide the minimum required liability -- not damage protection -- required by law (and that requirement is $0 in California)!