Hertz Buys 100,000 Tesla Vehicles, Will Lease 50,000 to Uber Drivers

Will your next Uber ride be in a Tesla vehicle? Hertz placed an order for 100,000 Tesla vehicles a few days ago and has now announced plans to lease 50,000 of those vehicles to Uber drivers as part of a deal between Hertz and Uber.

The deal could have Uber drivers behind the wheel (or steering yoke) of one of Tesla’s electric vehicles starting as early as November 1. Drivers in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. will have the first chance to lease Tesla vehicles under this new agreement. The two parties of the agreement aim to lease all 50,000 vehicles to Uber drivers by 2023.

Uber says that it aims to switch its North American and European fleet entirely over to electric vehicles by 2030 as part of its roadmap toward zero-emission operations.

The news of Hertz’s large order boosted the price of Tesla stock by 4.3% on Monday and Uber stock rose 2% in early Wednesday trading on the news of the deal.

Hertz’s electric vehicle order will be delivered over the next 14 months and is likely to be mostly Tesla Model 3 sedans. It plans to rent or lease the vehicles in the United States and European markets. It will also invest in charging infrastructure for the vehicles.

“Electric vehicles are now mainstream, and we’ve only just begun to see rising global demand and interest,” said Hertz interim CEO Mark Fields in a press release.

Hertz also brought football star Tom Brady on board for a marketing blitz for its upcoming electric vehicle fleet.

Hertz is still recovering from a 2020 bankruptcy, having become one of many businesses that was hit hard by the economic fallout from the world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some businessmen like Tesla CEO Elon Musk were especially critical of the response by governments like the state of California, which he called overly heavy-handed and hurtful to both businesses and their employees. He fought back against the forced closure of the Tesla factory in Fremont. Musk has since moved to Texas and, later, moved Tesla’s headquarters to Texas as well.

Hertz has brought on board new investor funding since its bankruptcy. There’s no sign that it got a bulk discount on the large order of Model 3 sedans. It may simply consider the investment a major part of efforts to reinvent itself as a rental car company.

“The new Hertz is going to lead the way as a mobility company, starting with the largest EV rental fleet in North America,” Fields said.

Tesla delivered just under 500,000 vehicles in 2020 and continues to increase the number of vehicle deliveries every quarter. It also continues to invest in new installations of Supercharger stations in anticipation of regulations requiring vehicle manufacturing companies to phase out sales of gas-powered vehicles by 2030 in some places like California and the UK.

A recent trademark filing implies that some future stations may include a dining option filling Elon Musk’s desire for an “old-school drive-in, roller skates & rock restaurant.” More practically, Tesla also has plans to make its Superchargers available to EVs manufactured by other automakers.