Contents:

    Guest contributor Mario was one of the lucky drivers who has had a chance to rent a Tesla through Hertz in order to rideshare with Uber. Keep reading to learn the ups and downs of his experience. 

    Recently, Uber announced a partnership with Hertz and Tesla to provide drivers in certain cities Teslas. This is part of Uber’s zero-emissions goal, and it made a splash in the news – Uber drivers driving Teslas to pick up passengers?

    Fetch App

    Yes, we already covered what it’s like to drive a Tesla for Uber!

    But beyond the hype, what is it really like driving a Tesla for Uber through the Hertz partnership? Does it make sense for drivers to do this?

    Yes… and no. Here is my experience with the Uber/Hertz/Tesla partnership and why I think some drivers would LOVE this and why some drivers should really AVOID this. 

    Getting a Tesla to Drive for Uber

    My Hertz-Uber-Tesla experience has been a rollercoaster ride from the beginning. 

    I picked up my white Model 3 at the local Hertz TNC rental location in San Antonio. I am one of the first eight drivers in my market to be part of the new initiative by Uber and Hertz and their partnership with Tesla. 

    In my market, I paid $334 for the base weekly rate. I also opted for an additional $8.99 loss damage waiver. After tax, my weekly rate is $472.

    This is how the partnership works: Hertz rents the cars out, and Uber manages the waitlist and drivers. 

    I signed up about three weeks ago, and I was one of the first called to participate. I waited a week to pick mine up and ever since I’ve been on an adrenaline high! I have not really come down since, but keep reading to find out what my final thoughts are on this!

    I’m Not New to Driving for Uber

    I’ve been doing rideshare on and off for five years now. I’ve been through 3 vehicles—engine, engine (again), and transmission issues took me off the road!  

    I was on the verge of giving up this gig when I read about this program.

    Not only is it a step toward Uber’s zero-emissions goal, it’s also Hertz electrification, shared mobility, and digital-first customer experience program exclusively for Uber rideshare drivers. 

    When I saw it, I was like, “Sign me up!”

    This started in the Tier 1 rideshare markets of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Washington, D.C. on November 1, 2021, with other cities to follow. 

    I joined the waiting list expecting it would be January 2022 or later before I got a call, especially since San Antonio is a Tier 2 market at best. On the other hand, the demand for drivers is picking up here, and San Antonio is a big tourist draw, so that could be why Uber expanded here.

    One thing to know about this program? Answer your phone! I was called about picking up my Tesla, and at first I missed the call because I let unfamiliar calls go to voicemail.

    I finally picked up the car a few days later, and there were two options: a Solid Black and a Pearl White. I wanted the black, but nope, no such luck. I got the white. 

    After signing my life away and warnings of the $400 cleaning fee, the $400 lost Tesla charging cable, and the $1,000 deductible (I opted for the Damage Waiver) and a short 3-minute Tesla crash course, away I went! 

    Driving a Tesla for Uber Through the Hertz Partnership

    I’m currently driving a white Model 3 Standard Range Plus with the premium connectivity package, autopilot and auto-steer option. 

    Hindsight: Full self-drive isn’t available for the program and would be a total waste of money for rideshare. I would have rather have gotten the AWD Long Range option, but unfortunately, I was not consulted.

    I configured the options of my ride on Tesla’s website and it came out to be $54,900 if I were to buy it for myself. And I have to admit, the car is worth every cent of it!

    I would have preferred the AWD option – just a suggestion, Uber/Tesla/Hertz!

     

    This was my first experience driving an EV, and a fast one at that. I was not disappointed. It more than beat my expectations based on numerous online videos and reviews. 

    Besides the measly 5.7 second 0-60 time, it’s the perfect car for the demands of a rideshare driver. As quick as it moves, it stops just as fast. Besides electric disc braking, the electric motors also provide braking as well as regenerate power back to the enormous batteries.

    Considering an electric vehicle but Tesla’s not really in your price range? Here’s our list of the best EVs for Uber and Lyft drivers

    The adaptive cruise control is something I’m still getting used to. Besides setting it and forgetting it, it is great for bumper-to-bumper freeway traffic. It automatically slows down even to a stop. Then, once the vehicle in front moves, it accelerates back to my set speed, but quickly slows back down when traffic backs up again.  

    The safety features also benefit gig drivers, as well. Crash avoidance seems to work well, not that I was looking to get into one. A warning beeps if you get too close to a vehicle ahead of or beside you, and the outlines of vehicles on the screen are nice, but my favorite feature is that they turn red if too close or detect the need to auto brake. 

    The eight cameras are the eyes of the safety features in Tesla. They are also how the Auto Steer and Autopilot features work. But the latter is not a necessary rideshare feature—at least not for me. It seems to depend on the condition of the roads and clear line-markings. Maybe future versions will be better. For now, I’d rather have a long-range upgrade instead. 

    Range anxiety is a major concern of drivers, particularly for those not in major EV cities. Read more about range anxiety and what EV drivers can do about it.

    However, the positive side is taking time to stretch and take a power nap if needed. I’d like to see Tesla-maintained porta-potties at supercharger locations. A nice red one that only opens with the Tesla App! 

    Speaking of the app, one thing missing with the Hertz-Uber-Tesla experience is the ability to use the Tesla App. Since only OWNERS can add vehicles to the app, no app for you! 

    The entry and starting the vehicle is with a credit card-like fob that’s enclosed in thick plastic and a thick braided wire attached Hertz keychain. It works, but it’s awkward and takes away from the Tesla Experience. 

    If we had access to the app, it would allow walk up unlock and lock. A simple but smooth experience. 

    On a side note, I got to use Uber Premier for the first time and am not disappointed with my earnings so far.

    Passenger Reactions

    Riders are almost all impressed. I’ve gotten comments like “I like your car!” as soon as they enter the Tesla. 

    I’ve even gotten, “Wow, when I saw I was getting a Tesla I was so excited!” 

    And when they get “a taste” of Teslaration, it’s all big smiles and “wows.” 

    One negative reaction I did get was an accusation of being a Tesla salesperson. However, in my opinion, Tesla does not need salespersons…it sells itself, just like it drives! 

    Update to Driving a Tesla for Uber

    Two months into my Hertz Tesla rental, and I’m still as excited as the first day I picked it up! But… that excitement comes at a cost.

    As mentioned before, to pay for the $440 weekly rental – after-tax fees and damage waiver – one must work 22 hours with active rides, which can be 25 or more hours.  That’s assuming your average is $22 an hour. If you’re lucky enough to make more per hour, then your time to zero will be sooner. 

    Time to Zero, that’s what I work towards – and after that, it’s my money!  But unlike the traditional Uber rideshare driver, this is my side hustle to get something I want, but not necessarily need.  In my case, it’s to cure my “Tesladdiction” 

    tesladdiction  noun 

    Tes-lad·​dic·​tion | \ ‘te-sla-ˈdik-shən 

    Essential Meaning of tesladdiction

    1: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a Tesla) or do something (such as drive a Tesla)

    He has a tesladdiction; he drives 12 hours a day. 

    His life has been ruined by tesladdiction; all he does is drive his Tesla. 

    2: an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something

    He devotes his summers to his teslaaddiction; nobody sees him from May 30 to September 1. 

    I don’t drive because I have to, but because I want to.  

    When Hertz announced their Tesla purchases and partnership with Uber I saw my chance to do what I’ve always wanted: drive a Tesla every day.  You can say I have Tesla envy.

    The car is more than just fun to drive, it’s a total package. Once I got over the 15” screen with its overload of information, I’ve learned to pretend it’s no longer there, and only glance at it when needed. 

    It’s pretty clear I admire Teslas and would prefer to drive one, but should you rent a Tesla through Hertz for Uber? The answer is no!

    My biggest complaints with this program are that Hertz promised many things and never delivered on those promises. I had issues with:

    • Lower rates that were promised
    • Tesla app access

    Who wins in this scenario? Tesla, Hertz and Uber – not the drivers.

    In conclusion, I’m waking up now from my nightmare. I have rigged a 220 Level 2 charger in my garage and in 6-8 hours I’m back at full charge. It’s time to take “My Best Friend” for her daily ride, let’s see what the night returns in favor! Beep Beep!

    Final Thoughts

    Pros

    • Quick – responsive vehicle!
    • Sleek
    • Impressive 
    • Maneuverability 
    • Comfortable 

    Cons

    • No Tesla app access
    • Lack of quick charging 
    • Cost 
    • White is difficult to keep clean (a big concern for rideshare drivers!)
    • Autopilot doesn’t work on older freeways
    • Car wash access 
    • Range vs Autopilot. Hertz should have skipped AP and upgraded to the long range AWD version. An extra 100 miles would make it perfect for a 10-hour rideshare driver’s day! 
    • Floor mats – why none? 

    So will I keep driving my Tesla for Uber through Hertz?…

    No. While I loved the vehicle and drove it for a few weeks, I won’t be keeping my “Tessie” (my nickname for the car) much longer. 

    Why? I think this program is best for full-time drivers – not part-time drivers. After paying the weekly fee and driving part-time, I’m only clearing $100/week. 

    That’s just not enough, not for me and not as a part-time driver.

    However, if you’re a full-time driver and you’ve been nodding along to everything I’ve said so far, try this partnership when it’s available in your city! You may really enjoy it and make enough money to make it all worth it. 

    Overall, I had a very positive experience with this program, even though I won’t be keeping it. Definitely consider it if you’re a full-time driver – or even temporarily as a part-time driver, especially if you want to see what it’s like driving a Tesla!

    Have you driven a Tesla? Would you try it out for rideshare? 


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    -Mario @ RSG

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.