This article proposes a hydrogen rental-car strategy for transitioning from fleets to consumers in Orlando, Florida. Orlando is the No. 1 tourist destination in the United States, but most car renters visit only a few destinations. A hydrogen rental-car fleet serving this cluster of destinations could provide visitors with a positive first exposure to hydrogen vehicles with minimal commitment, creating hydrogen advocates and potential early adopters in their home regions. The rental-car business combines the logistical advantages of a fleet operation with outreach to many consumers. A hydrogen-powered rental-car fleet at the Orlando International Airport could provide guaranteed demand, supporting an initial rollout of refueling stations. We surveyed 435 rental-car customers in Orlando to understand the idea from the consumer point of view. We analyzed the bundles of destinations visited by the respondents and found that only three stations-an existing station at the Orlando International Airport plus new stations near the theme parks and in downtown Orlando-could serve 64% of renters. Half of all respondents indicated a willingness to pay more to rent a hydrogen car, and this subset of customers ranked the ability to use a pollution-free car as the most important factor in their decision. We then identify the major barriers to a hydrogen rental-car business model from the corporate point of view and propose a number of potential solutions. The most significant barrier appears to be the fleet purchase costs, which we think can be offset by the benefits of free media coverage and contained by beginning with converted internal-combustion vehicles and converting eventually to fuel-cell vehicles. We also outline possible synergies with NASA, Disney, refueling stations, manufacturers and state government.
- Rental car
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Fuel Technology
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology