It’s fair to say that I’m a pretty loyal member of the EV-team. I was drive an electric car since early 2021, and I made the decision not to go back to gasoline by choice. So when it came to booking a rental car for my next Orlando vacation, the first thing I did was check out what electric cars were available.
Not much, which isn’t a huge surprise, but I was able to get a Tesla Model Y for the duration of my two week trip. It’s all booked, paid for, and I’m guaranteed to have that particular car. The only problem is, I get nervous about it all, even though I know I shouldn’t be.
Renting an EV seemed like a no-brainer
The decision to rent an electric vehicle while I was on vacation was not very difficult. When I booked the price difference between a Model Y and a petrol car was not that big. About $200 at time of booking, compared to the cheapest car Hertz had to offer, and the Model Y was far from the most expensive car I could have considered.
I don’t know what gas prices will look like in November, especially now that the average cost of fuel is slowly falling, but I don’t have to worry. how to find cheap gasoline in a tourist trap is the most attractive thing. Plus, I’ll be able to enjoy all the things that make a Tesla a Tesla, which you wouldn’t get in a regular two-door sedan.
Automatic pilot will make long car journeys an absolute breeze and the built-in navigation system means I won’t need to use my data roaming allowances to get around. Additionally, Hertz only asks you to return the car with at least 10% battery remaining (opens in a new tab).
So don’t look for a gas station on the way to the airport, lest you end up with an exorbitant bill from the rental company. Gasoline is pretty expensive as it is right now, so I shudder to think what you’d end up paying after returning a car with an empty tank.
But in the weeks after booking, I started to feel a little anxious about renting an electric vehicle. Or more accurately, I was anxious about recharging – a feeling I’m somewhat familiar with. I felt much the same just before buying a Nissan Leafbecause I cannot install an EV charger in my home.
Irrational fears resurfaced
In my experience, fears about load and range anxiety are largely unfounded. There are problem areas, and some cars have extraordinarily low range, but I know that won’t be a problem on my vacation.
But there’s this little voice hidden in the irrational part of my brain that says “yeah, but what if everything goes wrong?”
The reserved Tesla Model YI has a range of 303 miles, according to the website, so I won’t need to charge as often. When you spend your days at giant theme parks, the last thing you want to do is drive.
I also did my research on Orlando’s charging infrastructure before paying for the car. How many chargers are there, where they are concentrated, and the ratio of slower AC chargers to ultra-fast DC fast chargers. I even looked at which hotels had their own charging facilities, in case one was in my price range.
Sadly not, but from what I can tell Orlando’s EV charging infrastructure isn’t half bad. Significantly better than where I live, anyway, and there are a few areas where EV chargers and hotels seem to be concentrated. So I didn’t have to choose between a nice place to stay and easy access to car-friendly power.
Many large parks have EV chargers, of course, but only in very limited numbers. The highest number is five, in my opinion, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. These chargers are available on a first-come basis, and chances are whoever gets there first will be plugged in all day. In my mind, it’s not even worth considering these chargers as an option, as convenient as they are.
In the end, I chose a hotel right in the middle of a large group of Chargers and close enough to the parks. It also happens to be half a mile from a Tesla Supercharger and with easy access to at least two more. No matter what you think of Tesla, the scale of the Supercharger network is pretty damn impressive.
But to top it off, all Teslas rented by Hertz come with an adapter that lets you plug into J1772 chargers. So if you’re willing to charge a little slower, you’re not necessarily beholden to Tesla’s network.
Fear of the unknown is the real enemy here
With all that in mind, you’d think all my fears would be extinguished. And yet, I still have occasional feelings of anxiety floating around in my brain. No logic or rational thought prevents these feelings from arising from time to time.
Although it’s not a cliché, it’s all down to the fear of the unknown. My familiarity with Orlando is fleeting at best, and part of my brain will wonder about things that could go wrong. Bays can be full when I need them, equipment can be broken, or I have to spend my precious downtime waiting for the car to recharge.
And those fears are so incredibly stupid that I hate myself for feeling them. I didn’t feel like this the last time I went to Florida and had to fill up my rental car with gas. And I know that once I get to Orlando, my brain will put everything into place and stop its incessant worrying.
This is exactly what happened when I bought my Nissan Leaf. I had done my research, figured out where the local chargers were, how much they cost, and I still felt anxious. As soon as I got in the car to recharge, those feelings disappeared in an instant. Now the only thing I have to worry about is maneuvering around my neighbor’s atrocious parking lot.
But the approach of my vacation gives me a new sympathy for people who worry about switch to electric car.
I own an electric vehicle and I write about them daily. So I know I don’t have to worry about charging my rental car, especially since it’s a Tesla. But I get anxious despite that, so you can’t blame people with no electric car experience for having concerns. No matter how hard you try to educate people, it’s no substitute for those who are experimenting with electric cars themselves.
At the end of the line
I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that renting a Tesla for the duration of my vacation will turn out pretty well. I get a nice car with an impressive range rating; charging stations abound; and I’m not going to do much driving anyway.
But no matter what I know and what I tell myself, that little voice in the back of my mind is quite persistent. It may disappear for a few days, but it will always reappear and hang around like a boring song.
Unfortunately, that’s how it is, and the only thing I can do between now and November is wait. But hey, at least I know I can have fun once I leave the pla