Hertz Sells 20,000 Electric Cars After Being Burned by Tesla’s Price Cuts

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The rental car company blamed the sharp drop in the value of electric vehicles and higher repair costs for its decision to sell 20,000 cars.

The rental car company Hertz will be selling about one-third of the electric vehicles in its fleet after they lost value more quickly than expected, the company said on Thursday. The drop in value is a blow to the company’s efforts to replace gasoline vehicles with cars that do not produce tailpipe emissions.

The electric vehicles the company owned were also more likely to be involved in collisions, Hertz said, and they proved costly to repair. The company said it planned to buy more gasoline-powered vehicles to replace the 20,000 battery-powered cars it was selling.

“Certain of these E.V.s became uneconomical for us,” Stephen Scherr, Hertz’s chief executive, said in an interview on Thursday.

The company’s decision to sell 20,000 vehicles, which Mr. Scherr blamed partly on “unprecedented” price cuts by Tesla that undercut the cars’ resale value, provided fuel for opponents of Biden administration policies to promote the technology as a tool to address climate change and air pollution.

Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, seized on the announcement during a hearing on Thursday on the climate policies.

Hertz’s decision showed that electric vehicles are costly and unpopular, Mr. Barrasso told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “The demand for electric cars is stagnating,” he said, adding, “So much for the Biden economy.”

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