ICRS Panel Addresses Challenges Of Electric Vehicles To Car Rental Industry

ICRS Panel Addresses Challenges Of Electric Vehicles To Car Rental Industry | vehicle management software

Many obstacles remain, green vehicle opportunities might be worth considering

Green-powered vehicles might not be top of mind in the car rental industry, but a panel assembled for the 2020 International Car Rental Show, slated for Caesars Las Vegas March 22-24 will reveal what lies ahead in the “electrification ecosystem.”

“Electric vehicles comprise only about 1.8 percent of new vehicle sales today, yet as many as 50 new electric models are planned within five years,” said Chris Brown, the ICRS chair who will moderate the panel. “The time is now to start discussing the opportunities — and challenges — for car rental.”

Pundits on the topic, Charting a Path to Renting Electric Vehicles, include Chris Haffenreffer, assistant vice president, innovation at Enterprise Holdings; Lea Malloy, AVP of research and development for Cox Automotive Mobility Group; Arun Rajagopalan, co-founder and CEO at Motorq; and Natalia Swalnick, senior director of EV Programs at electrification coalition. 

Scheduled to start March 24 at 8:40 a.m. local time, discussions will outline the future of electric vehicles and where the car rental industry fits into that matrix. Inherent issues to be brought up will likely include education, logistics, planning, residual values, and the use of data when it comes to managing a green fleet.

One of the more vocal parties with a representative on the panel is the Electrification Coalition, which has focused on transportation as part of its mission statement. “The key to eliminating dependence on oil is through the transportation sector,” read one passage on the organization’s website, “which accounts for more than 70 percent of our oil consumption and is 92 percent reliant on petroleum fuels.”

Much of the panel’s overall agenda sounds theoretical and long-term, but don’t be surprised if more immediate concerns spring up surrounding how electric vehicles are performing in the market. Most major players in the industry have two or three fully-electric and hybrid models in their fleet, while overall sales in the auto industry haven’t been promising.

While automakers have doubled the rollout of electric vehicles within the past year, sales dropped by seven percent in 2019. Several reasons for the decline range from those models being too expensive to trepidation over a culture shock involving shifts towards more environmentally-friendly lifestyles. 

That said, Cox Automotive, which will also be part of the panel, has recognized the glacial pace of electric vehicle acceptance in the U.S. market. “Electric vehicles might receive significant consumer and media attention, but they only represent a small portion of new-vehicle sales each month,” the company said in a recent media release. “That is expected to dramatically change over the next 5-10 years.”

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