Written By Paul Nijssen & John King
Renting a Tesla can seem like an exciting and eco-friendly option for a road trip or a special occasion. However, my recent experience with a well-known rental service and their Tesla Model 3 rental turned into a nightmare. I discovered that there are several crucial questions one must ask and details to clarify before renting a Tesla from any rental service. In this blog post, I will share my story and provide valuable insights to help you avoid a similar frustrating experience.
Tesla Model 3 Photographed by Carlquinn for Wikimedia Commons
A Promising Start:
When I decided to rent a Tesla Model 3 from a local branch of a national rental service, I was thrilled about the prospect of driving an electric vehicle. During the rental process, I was assured that it was permissible to charge the rental car at any Tesla Supercharger station, only to later realize that this information was completely false.

The Road to Frustration:
As I embarked on a long journey, I soon found myself running low on battery power, with no charging adapter in the vehicle. This oversight meant that I would have to spend several hours recharging the car in the middle of nowhere before continuing my trip. Realizing the inconvenience this would cause, I decided to make a desperate attempt to reach the nearest Tesla Supercharging station.

Stranded and Unsupported:
Fortunately, I managed to reach the charging station with only a sliver of battery life left. However, my relief was short-lived as I discovered that Supercharging was unavailable for me, and there was no support available to assist me with the situation. It was through the help of another Tesla user that I learned the reason behind my predicament.

The Crucial Missing Link:
It turns out that if the rental service does not have an active account with Tesla or if you, as the renter, do not have a personal Tesla account, accessing Superchargers becomes impossible. In such cases, you’re left with limited options: either call the rental service and arrange for a costly tow truck to swap your vehicle later or sign up for a Tesla Supercharging account at your expense.

The Disheartening Conclusion:
Regrettably, I had no choice but to return the Tesla and exchange it for a regular gas-powered car. Since I didn’t own a Tesla, signing up for a Tesla account wasn’t a viable option. This experience served as a reminder that renting a Tesla may initially seem like a grand idea, but the frustration and challenges of accessing Tesla Superchargers can quickly overshadow the excitement.

Lessons Learned:
Renting a Tesla requires careful consideration and attention to detail. Here are a few essential points to remember before embarking on your Tesla rental journey:
  1. Verify Supercharging Accessibility: Ensure that the rental service has an active account with Tesla, or consider signing up for a personal Tesla account before renting the vehicle.
  2. Inquire about Charging Adapters: Confirm whether the rental car includes the necessary charging adapters to avoid being stranded without a means to recharge.
  3. Read the Fine Print: Thoroughly review the terms and conditions of the rental agreement, paying close attention to any clauses regarding charging responsibilities and potential fees.
  4. Clarify Liability: Understand that both Tesla and the rental service will not take responsibility for any charging costs incurred during your rental period. It’s crucial to clarify who will be responsible for these expenses beforehand.
Renting a Tesla can be an exciting and environmentally conscious choice, but my personal experience with this rental service highlighted the importance of being well-informed and prepared. By asking the right questions, clarifying the necessary details, and understanding the limitations, you can avoid the frustrations and inconveniences that I encountered. Remember, cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s before driving your rented Tesla off the lot to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Note: At the time of this post, the rental company did reach out to me to make things right, they offered up the same vehicle with an adapter and clear instructions for charging, including account set up.