September 24, 2023

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Understanding Legalities Around Telematics, Rental Fleet Electrification



Using telematics and other vehicle technologies, like electric vehicles and connected cars, can help a rental fleet improve its customer service, fleet maintenance and vehicle safety.

With more federal and state incentive programs and increased adoption of EVs among consumers, more rental companies are adding EVs to their fleets.    


As technologies such as telematics and electric vehicles constantly evolve, car rental companies must keep up with changing legalities surrounding state rental laws, privacy considerations and customer disclosures.


During the 2022 International Car Rental Show, attorneys Leslie Pujo of Plave Koch and Wes Hurst of Polsinelli led a seminar focused on new and developing laws and legal considerations that rental operators should consider when using these technologies.


EVs & Possible Legal Issues


From a legal standpoint, should a rental company create practices to educate their customers about EVs? Currently, there’s not a statute triggering a legal duty to offer this type of EV education to customers, according to Pujo. However, rental operators might want to update rental agreements or provide other materials to include disclosures on features of driving EVs, such as information on range, charging requirements and driving do’s and don’ts. 


During the seminar, a few attendees said they voluntarily provide instructions to help alleviate customer anxiety with EVs, especially related to range anxiety. For example, one rental operator said he provides EV renters a list of public fast-charging stations on the route to a local top destination.


“Some rental companies are providing written instructions on issues that they know arise,” said Pujo. They’re asking renters if they have driven EVs before and pointing out OEM manuals and operational procedures on each electric model.


If the rental EV comes back at a lower charge level than when it went out, will the rental company have the customer pay a fee for recharging?


From a legal standpoint, if a rental company plans to charge the customer for not returning the EV at a specific battery level, the company needs to disclose that information in…


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