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The Next Rental Car You Abuse Might Be A Polestar 2

A Polestar 2 parked in front of a Hertz rental agency sign.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

Doctor, My Polestar Hertz

A white Polestar 2 parked next to a Hertz rental agency sign.
Photo credit: Polestar

Not content with an all-Tesla EV fleet, Hertz has struck up a deal with Polestar for up to 65,000 Polestar 2s. While that’s more than twice as many cars as Polestar delivered worldwide last year, deliveries are expected to be spread out over five years so production capacity shouldn’t be a problem. Speaking with Automotive News, Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath seemed excited about the brand exposure possible from this deal. “People trying an electric car perhaps for the first time will be doing it in a Polestar,” said Ingenlath.

While brand exposure is awesome, fleet sales are also great way to build up pre-owned programs. All of these rental Polestars are expected to make their way back through the Polestar retail network, opening the door to more used EVs. More used EVs means more choice and affordability, a good thing for people who don’t want to or can’t afford to take the initial depreciation hit of buying new. As cool as this news is, it raises a few questions. How will data privacy be handled in rental cars with Android Automotive infotainment? Will renters view the Polestars positively given the patchy state of third-party charging? Will Hertz still call the cops on customers by wrongly flagging rented-out cars as stolen? Time will tell.

GM And Honda Double Down On EVs

The GM logo next to the Honda logo
Photo credit: General Motors

Remember the EV partnership that GM and Honda announced last year? It just received a huge boost courtesy of new, ambitious plans for affordable EVs. As expected, these new vehicles that ride on a joint-developed platform and use GM’s Ultium battery tech. The first model is expected to go on sale in 2027 and GM and Honda expect to build millions of them, a seriously bold target if I’ve ever seen one. The first vehicle expected on this platform is a compact crossover SUV. No surprise there, compact crossovers seem to be all any automaker can imagine right now and an affordable electric option should be a smash hit with consumers.

During a call with reporters on Tuesday morning, Ken Morris, GM’s executive vice president of electric, autonomous and fuel cell programs, said that these joint-developed vehicles are expected to start at under $30,000. That’s a massive step forward for EV affordability, though $30,000 is still a lot of money for many consumers. Funnily enough, this isn’t the first time that Honda and GM have collaborated; not only did GM tap Honda to supply J35S1 3.5-liter V6 engines and H5 automatic gearboxes for the first-generation Saturn VUE, Honda licensed OnStar for use in Acura vehicles from 2002 to 2006. Time really does seem like a flat circle sometimes.

The War In Ukraine May Have Slashed Car Production By 150,000 Units

A British Racing Green Mini Cooper S rolling off the line at Oxford
Photo credit: BMW Group

When Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, nobody really knew how drastically this act of aggression would affect vehicle production. Would automakers be nimble enough to source wiring harnesses, mechatronic assemblies and other critical components from suppliers outside Ukraine in a timely manner? Erm, not really. A new report from LMC Automotive estimates that new car production has been slashed by 150,000 units across Europe. This lines up well with a two-week shutdown at BMW’s Oxford assembly plant, Porsche cutting shifts at Zuffenhausen and Leipzig, and Mercedes-Benz reducing capacity at their flagship Sindelfingen assembly plant.

While manufacturers are slowly ramping up production by sourcing parts from other suppliers, plant workers still have to bear the brunt of these shutdowns. One anonymous worker at BMW’s Oxford plant confided to Oxford News that line workers were only paid 40 percent of their usual wage during the latest shutdown. Fortunately, automakers seem to be pivoting to other suppliers, so this drought will likely be largely resolved by summer.

The Toyota GR86 Is Getting A Spec Series

Toyota GR86 GR Cup Car Teaser
Photo credit: Toyota

Great news for anyone who loves one-make racing series: Toyota’s launching one for the GR86. This isn’t some home market series for us to daydream about either, Toyota’s latest baby coupe is going wheel-to-wheel in North America. Organized by Toyota Gazoo Racing North America, the GR Cup will consist of seven races on American soil where caged-and-shod GR86s will go wheel-to-wheel. While we don’t have a ton of info on the cars right now, a teaser photo shows a cage, a wing and refreshingly few other modifications. We wouldn’t be surprised if series costs are on-par with the Mazda MX-5 Cup, making the GR Cup a relatively affordable way to go wheel-to-wheel racing. The GR Cup kicks off in 2023, so you still have time to pinch your pennies and save up for a race car. More information is expected to be announced this summer and we’ll have it for you as soon as we can get our hands on it.

Fast Audis Recalled For Exploding Turbos

A 2013 Audi S8 in Prism Silver
Photo credit: Audi

Audis have long held a reputation for being 2 Fast 2 Fragile and the previous generation of 4.0-liter V8 cars are no exception. While owners, shops and the aftermarket have known of turbocharger oiling issues with these engines for a long time, Audi’s only just issued a recall yesterday. What exactly is the problem? The mesh screen on the turbochargers’ oil feed lines is extremely fine, so carbon buildup and other gunge can block the mesh. Blocked oil line mesh accelerates turbocharger bearing wear, and accelerated bearing wear usually ends with the turbocharger’s turbine hitting the housing or the cartridge shaft snapping entirely. More than 26,000 2013-17 Audi A8, S8, S6, S7 and RS7 model have been recalled, with owners expected to be notified of this recall on or before May 20. The silver lining? Because the turbochargers on an Audi 4.0 TFSI V8 are right in the engine’s vee, servicing the turbo lines isn’t a huge pain in the ass.

The Flush

Whelp, time to pull the lever on today’s issue of The Morning Dump. Hey, weight reduction is great for racetrack performance and the easiest weight to reduce is usually by getting rid of what you had for dinner yesterday. From our vantage point this Tuesday, the EV revolution has already begun. Between the push for affordable EVs and surprisingly lively mass-market adoption, we’re a lot closer to the future than we think. Whether launch control in a Porsche Taycan Turbo S or the joys and pitfalls of running a dirt-cheap Nissan Leaf as an about-town beater, we’d love to hear your EV experiences in the comments. My best friend’s dad just traded in his E70 X5 diesel for a brand new Ioniq 5 and is absolutely loving it, so I’m pretty stoked for him.

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28 Responses

  1. Just traded my Pacifica Hybrid for an EV6 and could not be happier. When Vroom offered what we paid for the Pacifica minus the EV tax credit we jumped and were able to find an EV6 at MSRP. Fun times playing 2022 car buying games.

  2. My only experience driving an EV was half an hour in a friend’s Model Y. Forget the panel gaps and the dumbass UI and whatever Elon is tweeting; the drivetrain feels like magic. My reasonably modern non-EV felt just…antiquated. Like I might as well be shoveling coal into a boiler to keep the thing running.

  3. I always thought that generally car companies didn’t sell to rental fleets unless they couldn’t move the product through normal retail channels. There are exceptions of course where the rental fleet purchasers are willing to pay more. I guess they are willing to pay more for Polestar. Hope the Polestar 2 doesn’t become the electric equivalent of a Nissan Altima in the eyes of the consumer.

    I will seriously look at the Polestar 2 in a few years when my teenage daughter takes over my current car but that hinges on a few things. I won’t pay a near lux price for a car with a rental car semblance. The charging network really has to improve for non-Tesla EVs. Polestar only has two dealers in my state and that’s it. You have to drive two states over in any direction to find another dealer.

    1. Hertz has always had some decidedly non-rental fleet quality vehicles in their rental pool. They tend to charge a lot extra for them & occasionally gift them as upgrades to their most frequent of frequent renters. I always assumed they were resold with very few miles & for an OK markup over what Hertz paid for them as soon as their contractual minimum ownership period lapsed making the whole exercise worth it.
      Either that, or they are just reported as stolen they first day they are rented. Entirely possible seeing as this is Hertz and all.

    2. It depends on the quality of the car. I’ve known people who bought cars for themselves after liking a rental version. I assume that’s what Polestar is hoping will happen here, and it’s not a terrible way to get people introduced to EVs. A lot of times when I rent a car at a destination I only go through a partial tank of gas, so lack of charging infrastructure won’t matter if people don’t have to charge the entire time they have it.

  4. I like the daily summary, but not sure if morning dump is….a good title? Understand Morning Shift is taken, but thinking something cleverer, less low-brow for a site called the Autopian.

    How about Daily Tread? or Front Differential or some such the like?

    1. You have some good suggestions, Fuzzyweis, but I guess “low brow” is my style. I like it the way it is, “Cold Start”, “Shitbox Showdown” and “Morning Dump” are already like old friends to me. It’s like changing the name of a ship. Bad Ju Ju. 🙂

    1. As I’m sure EV owners have told you ad nauseam, if you can charge at home, it’s not always that much of an issue. I also appreciate that this is very much a regional issue and my experience in Nothern Europe has exactly zero relevance to your location. Leaving every day with a full battery (assuming you charge at home, which I would consider a must) really is a big help, but if you regularly do long journeys, that’s a different matter. Being prepared is also important, even over here there’s a mess of different providers, all of whom need a different app or NFC dongle to activate the charger. Just yesterday I had a series of panicked texts from my wife, who was attempting to get the car to charge at an unfamiliar charging provider. She got there in the end, but it was unnecessarily stressful.
      There’s a few factors that I agree need to be addressed: Locations of chargers. Speed of chargers, having lots of 22kW stations is no good to anyone on a long trip. Efficient reporting of charging station faults and maintenance. Unified login to any charger, i believe this is coming with Plug and Charge, but there will probably be a dozen competing standards soon.
      That aside, if you get the opportunity, give an EV a go. It’s an interesting driving experience, unlike anything else.

  5. The concept of a rental EV is good, provided I am in an area where I can charge it. Right now it is hit or miss in my area. The closest charges are miles away and I don’t have the home setup yet to make it worth while.

    This could also spawn people to buy them. I usually rent a car I am thinking about and drive it for a bit to decide if I want one. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes that is what I get at the lot.

  6. Just bought a 2018 Model X from CarMax. Not sure I’m going to keep it. $89,000 for a 7 seater that only really seats 4 adults? But, the thing is an amazing vehicle. I think I might have to find something cheaper until my Silverado EV or Cybertruck become a reality. Used Bolt maybe.

  7. I am an ideal EV adopter; almost.

    30 mile round trip daily commute. Suburban home with garage to charge. Not scared of electricity (converted golf cart to a DIY lithium battery).

    Issues are: wife can’t remember to even plug in her phone to charge and limited room for cars. We aren’t dropping the minivan, and I’m not dropping my 6-speed E90 330i. Also, I refuse to ever have a car payment… Come on RAV4 Prime or EV6 in a few years!

  8. My wife wants to move to an EV once she is ready to move on from her Subaru. Hopefully economies of scale will work for her by the time she is ready to change over in a couple of years.

  9. I am not sure that I would have ever bothered driving a Tesla if they had not been available to rent. Prior to that the only EV I had driven was a Bolt, which was mostly fine but has the handling prowess of a drunk three legged cow. The driving experience of the Tesla was fantastic, but the car overall was a bit of a let down in terms of build quality and stupid AF ergonomics. Consequently I have been interested in looking into a somewhat upscale electric car built by an actual car company. I have some travel plans in the near-ish future, and I am looking forward to trying out the Polestar.

  10. An EV rental would be perfect for those trips where I fly to see my family instead of driving. I drive it to their place, plug it in (probably 110V, but that’s fine), and do family things for a day or two, maybe a short drive here and there. Then I drive it back. If I don’t need to push the maximum range, it’s great.

  11. I’ve driven EVs and liked them, but they’re still expensive and I don’t have provision for charging at home, so they’re not really for me. I’m also not convinced that the complete electrification of cars is possible without collosal investmemt in power generation amd distribution, which no-one seems to mention, plus there’s issues around mining rare earth minerals.

  12. Mjea, the war in Ukraine has really hit the delivery times. In the comparison to war, delays are of course minor inconvenience, but still a bummer.

    My whole order was bit of a clust*rfuck so far. So I ordered Skoda Enyaq 80 4×4 (think ID4 but with actual working interior and bigger trunk) last autumn as company car. First HR lost my application, then leasing firm did pretty much the same and 2 months later when it was finally processed the delivery time had slipped from 4 to 8 months. So at that point (+ the 2 month initial delay) the delay was at 10 months. Then the war happened and now the delivery time is somewhere around 16 months.

  13. The Flush – Here’s a story I wrote back in February. I’ll repost it here.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I Rented a Tesla

    I’ve been an early supporter of electric cars because of Tesla, but my love of Tesla as a car company has had it’s positive and negative reactions with regards to both the cars and the company.
    I spent some time in Southern California recently and it’s almost funny how Teslas are about as common there as Buicks around Detroit. You can’t turn a corner without seeing one and even now, compared to my last visit only three years ago, you can spot multiple electric cars, from multiple companies, on nearly every block. My Scat Pack Challenger definitely made me feel like the last of the dinosaurs, which wouldn’t bother me too much if it wasn’t for the $5+ per gallon of the 91 octane my car required.
    My daughter and her fiancé came to visit for a few days so I wanted a roomier car to shuttle them around to all the sites while they were there so I decided to rent a car. I thought I would use Turo for the first time and as I looked through the list of cars, I saw so many Teslas available and each time I looked at a 4-cylinder CUV of some kind I could only think of how much gas I would still be using. So I took a chance and booked a base Model 3 for the weekend thinking that I would also finally get some real-world view of using a Tesla.
    All of the gimmicks aside, like the built-in video games, the fun fart noises for turn signal audibles, and the weird boom box mode that disturbed the residents at my daughter’s hotel, the core of it all, the technology that makes a useable and functional electric car available to the masses, was beyond impressive and not what I had initially assumed it would be. Not only did the car just perform like a normal car, most of us forgot that we were even driving an electric car at all. Initially, I kept watching the range and worrying that I may need to plug it in everywhere we parked, but that wasn’t the case. We drove from Laguna Beach, all around Los Angeles, and back home to Laguna without a worry. However, we did deplete the charge to about 30 miles at the end of our day trip.
    I knew the 110V would not charge the car enough for our next trip to Universal Studios the next day so we looked for the closest Supercharger. It was a few miles away at a shopping center and the car’s info center estimated that it would take about an hour or more to charge to 80%. My wife and I thought “well there’s the downside”, but we were wrong again.
    We arrived at the charger where other Teslas were lined up and waiting. I’ll admit that all of the owners were courteous of each other and politely waited their turn. After waiting about 15 minutes, we pulled in, plugged in, and just decided to make ourselves comfortable for about an hour. To our surprise, it only took us about another 15 minutes to get to 80%. I decided to keep going. I took us up to 90% for a total charge time of less than 20 minutes and a total cost of about $10. We drove back to our condo, plugged in to the 110V, and let it charge to 100% over night. The next morning, we had no worry about our trip to Universal and back, which still left us with more than 50% charge.
    Speaking in charge percentages says nothing if I don’t compare it to miles, right? So, for comaprison, a full charge on the base Model 3 gave me over 200+ miles before I needed to recharge on Saturday night for about $10. The same trip, with my Challenger, would have burned through a full tank of gas. I know this because I was doing this over and over again each weekend and I was paying about $80 to fill my car each time. Sure, the rental cost negates that expense, but that’s not the point. I rented the car for the extra room I needed, but also chose the Tesla for the experience. The short 15 minute charge to 80% also quelled my concerns about possibly driving one across the country too.
    I’m not ready for my own Tesla, but my daughter’s new Model Y is set to arrive at the end of this month. I’m holding out because I don’t really need another new car yet and I’m also a bit of a Mopar person. Being the son of a Chrysler retiree has me almost always buying or leasing a Mopar, so I’m waiting for at least the 2024/25 model year before I lease my first electric car for the family.
    I love cars. I love my old cars and new cars. I love the sounds and smells that come from gasoline-powered cars. It’s part of who I am, but I’m also no Luddite. I’m all for the technology that have made our cars more efficient and powerful at the same time and I’m also all for the the new technology that presently brings us our electric future.

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