A Chance to Kick the Tires of the LEAF
As with any new technology, there's going to be a learning curve with electric cars. Before the masses can accept EVs, they'll have to get used to them (how they sound, how they drive, how you charge them up, how their costs are different, with more upfront but less in fuel, etc). Test-drives can help, but you don't get a lot of driving time and having a salesperson sitting next to you isn't always conductive to really taking the time to properly evaluate a vehicle. That's why I think it's good news that Hertz, the largest car rental company in the world, will have Nissan LEAF electric cars in its fleet in both the US and Europe starting in 2011.
But before we get too excited, this doesn't mean that Hertz will have LEAFs in all its locations at once. They'll start the roll out in some places first (I'm guessing California), and it might take a while before you can rent a LEAF, depending on where you live.
There's also plans to rent LEAFs on the car-sharing model:
In the future, Hertz and Nissan plan to expand Nissan LEAF electric vehicles into Hertz's global car share service, "Connect by Hertz." By applying the same innovative model to car sharing, this would allow the Renault-Nissan Alliance to scale up availability and acceptance of electric vehicles across a wide consumer base in some of the world's most densely populated cities.
Too bad it's not quite as easy to rent a fast charging station...
More Info on the Nissan LEAF
Steven Chu Announces $1.4 Billion Loan to Nissan for LEAF Electric Car
Nissan Working on New Battery to Double the Leaf's Range by 2015
Nissan LEAF Electric Car to Come to British Columbia First (in 2011)