Hertz confirms it ordered 100,000 Teslas — but Elon Musk says he doesn’t know about it

Nov 2, 2021

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Hertz announced on Oct. 25 that it would order 100,000 Tesla Model 3 vehicles by the end of 2022 and add electric vehicle charging infrastructure worldwide. But according to Tesla founder Elon Musk, no deal has been reached.

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“I’d like to emphasize that no contract has been signed yet,” Musk tweeted on Nov. 1, just days after the announcement. “Tesla has far more demand than production, therefore we will only sell cars to Hertz for the same margin as to consumers.” Tesla stock fell just under 1% on Tuesday after Musk’s tweet.

Adding to the confusion, Hertz released a statement saying that Tesla deliveries have already begun.

“As we announced last week, Hertz has made an initial order of 100,000 Tesla electric vehicles and is investing in new EV charging infrastructure across the company’s global operations. Deliveries of the Teslas already have started. We are seeing very strong early demand for Teslas in our rental fleet, which reflects market demand for Tesla vehicles.”

Hertz previously said Tesla vehicles would be available at airport and neighborhood locations in several U.S. and European markets starting in early November. TPG followed up with Hertz about whether vehicles were already available and will update this post if we hear back.

Interim chief executive Mark Fields called electric vehicles “mainstream” in the Oct. 25th statement, saying “we’ve only just begun to see rising global demand and interest.”

“The new Hertz is going to lead the way as a mobility company,” the statement continued, “starting with the largest EV rental fleet in North America and a commitment to grow our EV fleet and provide the best rental and recharging experience for leisure and business customers around the world.”

The news — if true — couldn’t come at a better time, as it’s an effort to help Hertz meet fall and winter demand as travel recovers. The company says Hertz’s global fleet will be 20% electric vehicles by the end of 2022. Additionally, customers who rent a Tesla Model 3 will have access to 3,000 charging stations throughout the U.S. and Europe.

The rental car meltdown travelers experienced this spring, which we covered extensively, resulted from companies falling on hard financial times during the pandemic. These companies quickly sold large portions of their fleet and canceled upcoming orders. However, car rental companies couldn’t keep up with the demand once travel began to bounce back.

That led to travelers arriving at the airport or rental facilities only to find that their previously confirmed reservations had been canceled due to lack of supply. Destinations particularly reliant on travel, like Hawaii, reported a 40% decrease in rental car supply during the pandemic. In some cases, some cavalier travelers rented U-Haul vans or trucks from home improvement stores to get to where they needed to go.

Like many other travel companies, Hertz was significantly impacted by the pandemic and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, but it has since exited. The company has also done work to attract new members to its loyalty program and retain existing members. Hertz announced this summer that it would give Five Star elite status to all new Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members and that current members would earn double points on all rentals through the end of the year.

Featured photo by George Rose/Getty Images.

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