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Car Rental Companies Delay Electric Car Rollout Due to Low Customer Demand

Rental car drivers just aren’t plugging into electric vehicles, largely because of fears the batteries will die.

In fact, people who drive off in electric vehicles from Enterprise Holdings Inc., the biggest U.S. auto renter, often bring them back to trade for a car that runs on gasoline.

“People are very keen to try it, but they will switch out of the contract part way through,” Lee Broughton, head of sustainability at Enterprise, said in an interview. “Range anxiety makes them think they can’t get to a charging station.”

Limited range is holding up demand for electric vehicles nationwide, both in rentals and sales. About 140,000 plug-in EVs are on U.S. roads, short of President Barack Obama’s goal for 1 million of the cars by 2015, data from the Electric Drive Transportation Association shows. That may slow efforts to cut pollution from transport, which is responsible for a third of U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions
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