You might have heard that Hertz Australia is now renting out Polestar 2 and Tesla Model 3 electric cars Australia-wide. I hired one during my recent holiday in Victoria and these are my thoughts about the experience.

Booking and Pickup experience

First step is making a rental booking, the price will vary a lot depending on what time of year you hire the car, how many days you hire it for, extra inclusions like more insurance cover and if you have access to any discount codes.

Be aware that airport locations have a much larger location surcharge price/day than other Hertz locations.

Note that when you make this booking the car type is “Green Collection” Polestar 2/Tesla Model 3 so you’re not guaranteed to get a Polestar 2 but you can indicate a preference that will be fulfilled if the car you want is available at your Hertz pickup location when you go there.

Next step is picking up the car from Hertz, in my case I did it from their Tullamarine Airport location.

If your Hertz Polestar 2 hire is the first time you’ve driven an electric car make sure you follow the explanatory links they send you the day or two before your hire and read the online manual so you know what to expect.

The shift supervisor David walked me around the car and sat inside briefly to explain key electric car features, then I checked the car for any existing scratches etc put my luggage in and drove off.

Personalisation

If you want to you can create a Driver profile on the built-in Android Auto operating system and change whatever settings you like as well as logging in with your Google account so you can install apps.

Just remember to delete this profile before you give the car back to Hertz so no one else has access to your Google account!

The main centre display is a capacitive touchscreen and that makes it a smudgy fingerprint nightmare but thankfully that doesn’t impact visibility while driving.

Thankfully I had already done a test drive of the Polestar 2 in Sydney recently so the electric car driving experience wasn’t a surprise and I already knew which settings I wanted to change eg turn off Creep mode and change One Pedal Drive to Standard before I drove.

Driving

Driving the Polestar 2 was a pleasure compared to the basic petrol powered Kia Cerato I usually drive, hired from the Goget car share club.

The car has plenty of power and instant acceleration which is handy when passing slow moving trucks and because Victorian drivers don’t seem to ever want to let people in easily when changing lanes or merging onto a motorway.

Whether I was on Melbourne suburban roads, on a motorway or in the country the Polestar 2 felt powerful and safe to use because of the Volvo heritage and safety features like the 360 degree camera when parking in tight spots, adaptive cruise control, BLIS blind spot warning on the side mirrors and Auto LED headlights.

The car isn’t perfect though. I wish the Polestar 2 had

  • Rear window wipers and better visibility out the rear when backing up
  • Waze app available to install. The built-in Google maps satnav instructions are OK but I like to be given turn instructions with road names and also be aware of road hazards submitted by other drivers
  • Better Auto speed sign recognition as it was sometimes wrong eg: warning about a 40 zone even though I’m driving outside of school zone hours.

Charging

The car was already charged to 100% on pickup, remember to return it with at least 90% charge at the end of hire.

This was my first driving holiday ever where I didn’t feel guilty from burning hundreds of litres of fuel while driving because Evie and Chargefox both provide 100% percent green energy.

During my trip none of my overnight destinations had charging options so I charged along the way each day.

Each Hertz Polestar 2 should come with a tap n pay card for the Evie and Chargefox networks and the built-in Google Maps can show you where the nearest charging stations are to drive to.

Any use of these Evie and Chargefox cards will be post charged to your account as will tolls and any fines.

While you charge the charging station and car display show stats on the charging rate, battery capacity and estimated finish time depending on target percentage eg: 90% full. The last 10% of charging takes about 28min so it is not worth doing unless you really need the extra range.

Range

One kind of random thing about hiring a Hertz Polestar is that they have several variations in their fleet so you won’t know which you get til you pick the car up.

Mine was a Single motor 170 kW (231 hp) with a 69 kWh Lithium-ion battery that is capable of 478km WLTP range (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure).

The real world range in my experience was about 380km with a mixture of city, motorway and country driving. This will vary a fair bit depending on if your route is flat/hilly, use of air conditioning, weight of your stuff in the car and whether you drive economically or accelerate hard all the time.

Is it worth hiring a Hertz Polestar 2?

Of course the Polestar 2 isn’t the cheapest in the Hertz fleet but it is also not the most expensive either.

If you can afford it and it suits your needs eg: a couple or single person wanting to go on a driving holiday then it is great fun to drive and much cheaper to recharge than refuelling a comparable petrol car.

Just be aware that this is a fast hatchback not a big family car. I fitted in two medium sized luggage and a suit bag in the boot and our carry on small luggage had to be in the back seat.

Also before you book and pay for any electric hire car check your recharge options along your driving route.

All the state and territory governments are spending on subsidising more charging stations but until that’s done there are still areas like the Great Ocean Road without enough fast charging options along the journey length.

Disclosure: The rental was organised by Hertz PR. Evie charging stations were free for all Hertz customers during my rental period and I paid for the times I used Chargefox recharge stations.

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Huy

Thinking about buying the Polestar 2 long range. Very tempting.