Enterprise Rent-A-Car to Offer Electric Vehicles in 2011

American car rental firm Enterprise Rent-A-Car will soon have some new additions to its primary fleet. The large car rental company has ordered five-hundred Nissan Leaf electric vehicles, aiming to improve its carbon footprint and contribute to a green commerce record. The company is one of the largest rental firms in the United States, and the first of its kind to offer electric rental cars.

Environmental groups have praised the company’s decision, claiming that it is likely to reduce the firm’s carbon emissions and encourage other rental car operators to update their fleet. The change isn’t permanent yet – merely an experiment for the rental company – although if it is successful the company plans to add more electric automobiles to its collection.

The switch to electric vehicles also has some clear commercial benefits. Enterprise will receive a tax credit from the United States government of almost $8,000 for each vehicle, bringing the cost down to just $25,280 per car. While the car’s rental price is likely to be higher than that of regular petrol-driven cars, the company will benefit from the vehicle’s minimal running expenses.

The Leaf is a new offering from Nissan, one of few commercially viable electric car projects. The company has reported over 17,000 orders for the vehicle before its United States release. Advance customers will receive their cars towards the end of December, with the vehicle being pushed into domestic showrooms throughout 2011. An estimated ten major cities will receive the car first.

Enterprise currently has a large fleet of hybrid rental vehicles, which have earned the company one of the best environmental records in its industry. The environmentally friendly vehicles command a slightly higher price than their petrol-driven alternatives – a policy which is likely to continue as the company acquires more electric vehicles.