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How to rent a Tesla (and other electric cars) in Australia

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Renting an EV is a great way to learn the ropes.
Renting an EV is a great way to learn the ropes.

In the good old days, it was a common practice for those in the market for a new car to try before they bought. And, yes, while a dealership will usually allow you to take a car a couple of hours, getting an extended test drive is sometimes not so easy.

But when it comes to electric vehicles – like a Tesla – the ownership experience is unlikely to be anything like a first-time EV owner’s previous experience. Which means a longer test drive is justified.

But what if you don’t want the hassle of fronting up at a dealership and borrowing a demonstrator? Perhaps you haven’t made up your mind whether an EV is right for you in the first place.

This is especially true right now where the EV market is struggling as some consumers discover the electric vehicle life is not exactly as they expected it to be.

Heck, maybe you’re just having a weekend away and figured an EV instead of a conventional rental car might be a bit of fun.

What, in fact, if you could rent a Tesla for a day or weekend or even a bit longer?

Well, here’s the good new: You can.

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3

EV car rental – and Teslas in particular – is now very much a thing. You can go with one of the online rental car companies, but even the established rental operators like Hertz and Avis are in on the Tesla rental thing.

Car-share programs like Uber Carshare can also hook you up with a Tesla or other make and model of EV.

And if you want to sample the appeal of a car that is somewhere between a conventional car and an EV, you can also rent a hybrid. In fact, the same companies that can put you in a Tesla for a day or a week, also often offer hybrid car rental.

Electric car rental works the same as it does for other types of car rental. That is, you’re bound by the individual steps and rules imposed by each rental company.

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3

Some firms will have slightly different age limits and insurance fees for electric vehicle rental and if you have a terrible driving record or are very young, you might find that electric car hire is quite expensive compared with the broader question of how much does it cost to rent a car. Although anybody in that boat will find renting any car might be just about impossible.

If you do want to rent a car Australia is a pretty good place to do it, with lots of choice in companies and offers as well as a strong insurance industry and consumer laws that are clearly spelled out to avoid problems and disputes down the track. And since EV rental falls under those same guidelines, you’re well protected.

What you do need to make clear when making your booking is that you’re making a Tesla booking, and don’t want to be fobbed off with a different make and model if the Tesla is not available.

This happens a lot in rental cars, and would be defeating the purpose of the whole exercise when you want to sample a Tesla or other EV.

Tesla Model Y
Tesla Model Y

And find out whether the Tesla subscription Australia wide applies to the car you’re renting as that will have a big impact on where you can charge and how much you’ll pay to do so.

It should be included, but make sure and definitely find out if you’re liable for any extra charging fees as a renter, not an owner.

Meantime, what about the big question: How much does it cost to rent a Tesla for a day? A quick online search revealed prices that started at around $70 or $80 per day through the established car rental brands, and maybe a bit less through some carshare operators.

Right now, the other thing holding you back is if you’re from a regional area. Sometimes regional car rental operators do have stocks of EVs, but it can be patchy.

Tesla Model Y
Tesla Model Y

You’re better served if you live in the major capitals like Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, while holiday hot-spots mean that Tesla hire Brisbane way, and on the Gold Coast shouldn’t be a problem.

If you do hire a Tesla and you’ve enjoyed the experience, you can then make a more informed decision on whether going electric is right for you down the track. Or even right now.

This will also inform you on all aspects of EV ownership, including how much does it cost to charge a Tesla in Australia, and once you’ve decided it’s right for you, you can then move on to the purchasing process including questions like how much are Teslas in Australia and how do I insure a Tesla.

You’ll also gain a valuable insight into how charging stations work, the cost of commercial charging, how the various charging apps work and, of course, range anxiety and whether you can live with it or not.

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3

Whether you own or rent electric car driving can be lots of fun and really appeals to some people. So maybe hiring a Tesla for a few days might actually lead to a major lifestyle change for you.

David Morley
Contributing Journalist
Morley’s attentions turned to cars and motoring fairly early on in his life. The realisation that the most complex motor vehicle was easier to both understand and control than the simplest human-being, set his career in motion. Growing up in the country gave the young Morley a form of motoring freedom unmatched these days, as well as many trees to dodge. With a background in newspapers, the move to motoring journalism was no less logical than Clive Palmer’s move into politics, and at times, at least as funny.
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