COMMENT: The UX pain of EV rental

Polestar Rent a Car

By adding EVs to rental fleets without perfecting the end-to-end experience, brands which claim to be customer-focused have squandered an opportunity to build customer acceptance, writes Ed Niedermeyer 

Picture the scene: I’m at a suburban shopping mall in Southern California. The Tesla Model 3 I’ve rented is plugged in to a Supercharger, humming away quietly as it drinks up the electrons. Meanwhile I’m wandering the parking lot doing arithmetic. Or at least trying to. It’s just after midnight, I’m jet lagged and maths is not my forte.

In four ungodly hours, I will drive back to LAX to jump on a flight to Vegas, but in order avoid an extra rental fee I have to return the Tesla with more than 80% charge in the battery.

I hate extra fees so I try to recall how the battery has discharged over the past 48 hours, when I topped up, and for how long. What does range feel like, I wonder, groggy from lack of sleep. What number do I need to hit to get to LAX at or above the fee-free 80%? I look at the central display of the Tesla, watching the gauge inch up and the time tick down. The 80–100% charge is always the slowest and there’s 45 minutes to get to full. I desperately want to get to bed. I wish I’d rented the Corolla.

In 1983…

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