The Big Problem With Hertz’s Used Teslas

The Big Problem With Hertz’s Used Teslas

Hertz gambled and lost when it placed its big EV bet on Tesla a few years ago. It was a chance for the rental car company to shake up the industry, instead the company bought 30,000 Teslas, got scared away by depreciation and expensive repairs and now wants to get rid of them. While all those used Teslas looked to be great used car deals, it turns out high mileage EVs that were formerly rentals are horrible to own as New York Magazine reported.

Hertz had ambitions to make 20 percent of its rental fleet EVs, and it was going to start with a massive Tesla deal that saw the company purchase over 30,000. Expensive maintenance that the company didn’t account for spooked the company enough to start to sell off its fleet. This made for incredible used EV buys, especially when you factor in the used EV tax credit of $4,000. People scrambled to Hertz dealers buying them up. One salesman at a Hertz dealer in Smithtown, New York told New York Magazine that they were selling as many as 30 Teslas a week at one point. A slowdown came when buyers finally started to realize just what they got themselves into.

Take Bijay Pandey of Irving, Texas. He went and purchased a 2022 Model 3 Long Range for just $25,000 for his wife earlier this year. Problems with it started not long after he purchased it.

After getting a temporary title, he found the car wasn’t reading voltage correctly. Soon, a body shop found a quarter-size hole in the undercarriage he hadn’t seen before, which led to revelations of deeper issues inside. “The high-voltage battery pack is damaged and could cause extreme safety concerns,” a Tesla technician texted him.

The hole in the battery pack turned out to be damage that was classified as “exterior damage,” resulting in a repair bill of over $13,000. Of course, that amount wasn’t covered by warranty. Surprisingly, Hertz told Pandey they would let him swap the car for another. Unfortunately that meant two months of waiting while Pandey still made his $500 car payment. Pandey says this is when it dawned on him why Hertz was trying to offload these EVs. “I realized why they were trying to get rid of those Teslas. If anything happens to a Tesla, then the bill is too high.”

Pandey isn’t alone in this realization. Places like Reddit and Tesla forums are full of people asking whether or not it’s a good idea to buy a used Tesla from Hertz. And a good number of people are telling them to steer clear. Many seem to forget that these were rentals, and rentals often have hard lives. Some suggested that it would make more sense to buy a used Model 3 from Tesla than Hertz.

The battery abuse these have received makes a purchase from Hertz a dealbreaker. My prior experience with purchase of a used rental does factor. Most rental cars don’t see much abuse, however many of these were Uber rentals, lots of fast charging, using all the range there is, the abuse is such it falls on the poor slob that buys one. I would buy a used Tesla from Tesla, that’s about it.

We reached out to Hertz for comment, but Hertz isn’t saying much about the used Teslas. It seems the company just wants to get rid of them and be done with it. In a statement to New York, a spokeswoman said the company expects to be done selling the remaining 20,000 Teslas by the end of the year. If you’re in the market for one of these things and are tempted by the low prices, all I can say is good luck.

Update: While Hertz didn’t exactly like the way we framed the article — because of course – they did get back to use with a comment. Hertz CEO Gil West said the company is on track with downsizing its Tesla fleet.

“Turning to EVs. We previously announced our plan to reduce the EV fleet by 20,000 units. And by the end of Q1, we sold about half of them. Given this progress, we increased the EV disposal plan by another 10,000 units, bringing the combined reduction to 30,000 vehicles, which we expect to complete by the end of the year.”

West also mentioned that Hertz will work with and try and accommodate any customer that has a problem with one of its vehicles.

“We seek to provide all our customers with an exceptional experience. If a customer has an issue or concern about any vehicle purchase, we work to make it right. In this case, as soon as the customer brought his concerns to us, we worked closely with him to deliver a Tesla that met his needs and preference.”

Hertz also made sure to mention that each Tesla comes with a 12-month/12,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, go through a 115-point “pre-delivery inspection” and include a seven day buy back guarantee.

This article originally appeared on Jalopnik.

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