Can you rent an Electric Car?

19 December 2017

Lab Chat

With growing concerns for air quality, countries around the world are looking to switch to renewable energy and alternative sources of fuel. The likes of France and the UK have already announced future bans on the sale of diesel and petrol cars, with China also planning something similar.

In the Gulf states, there have been similar signs of a shift in the way cars will be powered. The region’s first hydrogen fuel station opened in 2017 and there has been serious investment in electric charging infrastructure. However, before charging technology is widespread, renting these alternatively fuelled vehicles seems to be the best option. So, is it possible to rent an electric car?

Trying out alternatively fuelled vehicles

In short, yes, it is possible. AW Rostamani Shift Car Rental has become the UAE’s first car rental firm to offer its customers electric cars. More specifically, the Renault Zoe will be available for customers to rent in Dubai. The initial fleet comprises ten of the vehicles, but it’s hoped to be expanded in the future.

This offers consumers the ideal way to try out the car. At the moment, people are put off eco-friendly models because of cost. They usually set people back around three times more than a ‘standard’ vehicle. The same goes for renting, with the Zoe costing nearly twice the cost of a standard car per day. However, factoring in fuel costs can make up for that in part.

With current UAE fuel costs, a standard car needs around Dh20 for 100km. However, the Zoe can travel 300 kilometres (186.4 miles) on a full charge. Another obstacle is charging time. However, cars will be charged for customers, and they can even exchange the model for a fully-charged one at a Shift branch.

What’s wrong with conventional fuel?

Some may still be wondering why there is such an effort to convert drivers to alternatively fuelled vehicles. In short, it can be put down to air pollution and fuel sources. Diesel and petrol are the two options for conventional combustion engines. Both are produced from oil, which – as we’re becoming increasingly aware – is a finite resource.

As well as oil running out, nations are becoming more concerned about the quality of their air. By burning diesel and petrol fuel, cars generate a range of pollutants such as greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. They release these into the environment, contributing to global warming as well as threatening the health of people exposed to them. By switching to alternatively fuelled vehicles, it will reduce the level of emissions from cars, which is currently around a fifth of all emissions worldwide.

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