There were two big news stories recently that are demonstrating how hybrids are finally becoming a legitimate option for businesses. The first was a surprising hybrid truck deal with PG&E and the second was a closer look at how hybrids are becoming more popular as rental cars. Here is a quick look the highlights of each story and what they could mean for the future of hybrid vehicles and their growing popularity.
PG&E is well known on the East Coast as one of the primary electric companies. This week, they have added a pair of new electric Silverado pickup trucks to their fleet. It was noted that the average PG&E truck will travel about 60 miles per day providing utility service to neighborhoods. Since the normal Silverado has only a 13mpg for city driving, the switch to a hybrid creates a total fuel efficiency of nearly 100 miles. This is because the hybrid Silverado can use electric power for the first 40 miles of the day, which means on 20 miles will be gas powered.
The important news out of this story is two-fold. First, it demonstrates how effective a hybrid can be for most business fleets that operate primarily in their home town. Obviously, it still isn’t a great option for someone driving 100 miles a day, but most fleet vehicles aren’t used for anything else aside from in-city, daily driving. Second, it also demonstrates that hybrid trucks offer unique benefits because historically, their mpg is so low. In total fuel efficiency, a hybrid truck is proving to easily be the best solution.
The second, and possibly more telling, story relates to the increased number of hybrids being offered by rental agencies. It noted that every major rental car company now offers electric hybrid cars to their customers. Additionally, because the hybrids at rental agencies are in high demand, more hotels are adding charging stations to their properties so that guests can power their hybrid vehicles overnight.
As a renter, one thing to keep in mind is that you will likely be paying an average of $5 more per day to rent a hybrid. This is to offset the higher initial cost to company. Plus, when reserving a hybrid, you are actually reserving a specific vehicle, rather than a type of vehicle which is the standard practice. While this may cost you more upfront, renting a hybrid also means that you won’t be paying nearly as much in gas. It doesn’t matter if you are renting it for a day or a week, there are substantial potential savings.
Overall, these two stories are painting a very positive picture for the use of hybrids by businesses. Historically, whenever a range of businesses start to pick up on a trend, the infrastructure changes that are needed tend to happen quicker. This means that there is a good chance that charging stations will become easier to find in areas where these hybrids are being rented. For example, Element hotels all now have charging stations. Marriott International recently added 45 charging stations to 22 properties. Some hotels are even offering free parking to guests that are using hybrid cars.
This is not only big news for businesses, but the future of hybrids as a whole.