The Polestar deal is Hertz's second significant pact for EVs.
Last October, the rental company ordered 100,000 Teslas — the first step of a bold plan to electrify its fleet. Hertz's electrification plan, which eventually will include nearly 500,000 cars and trucks worldwide, is the company's first significant initiative since emerging from bankruptcy in June.
Hertz will initially order the four-door Polestar 2 fastback, launched in 2020. The sedans will be available to rent at Hertz locations in Europe this spring, followed by North America and Australia in late 2022.
Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr told Automotive News TV on Monday that diversification of the rental fleet is an important proposition.
“It gives our customers — corporate and individual — an opportunity to ... drive any number of different vehicles,” Scherr said. “Polestar has built a really formidable automobile.”
Hertz expects the EV fleet life cycle to last longer than that of combustion-engine vehicles.
“There’s less maintenance on these cars; there’ll be an ability to re-kit the interior as we go forward,” Scherr said.
For Hertz, EVs also open a “diversity of business channels not limited to consumers,” Scherr said.
That includes with ride-share operators, such as Uber and Lyft.
"Many corporations are also looking to fulfill their objectives on the ESG [environmental, social and corporate governance] front and putting employees in electric vehicles, particularly where they need to rent," Scherr said.
Next year Polestar will launch a Porsche Cayenne-sized crossover. The Polestar 3, built in the U.S. and China, is based on a new all-electric platform developed by Volvo for its next-gen EVs.
Guidehouse Insights principal analyst Sam Abuelsamid said performance-oriented Polestar offers Hertz a "premium EV brand cache."
"It gives Hertz an option for EV enthusiasts who might not be interested in renting a Tesla," Abuelsamid said.