BCD Travel car rental survey reveals 81% of travelers don’t rent electric cars due to poor logistics, range and availability

Only 4% of companies encourage renting electric cars

UTRECHT, The Netherlands, Jan. 30, 2024 – BCD Travel recently surveyed more than 900 business travelers in North America and Europe who rented a car at least once last year. The survey looked at traveler behavior and satisfaction as well as trends in car rental for business travel. According to the survey, most business travelers rent a car to visit their company’s office, meet with clients or provide onsite service. The most important reasons for renting a car instead of using other means of transportation are convenience (64%), speed (36%), lack of alternatives (32%) and price (30%).


Companies apply a variety of policy measures for savings and sustainability. Over half of travelers report their companies encourage refueling rental cars before returning (64%) and sharing a rental car with colleagues (53%). Only 4% say their company’s policy encourages renting electric cars.


Company policy (69%) has the biggest influence on travelers’ car rental choice. Other factors include the convenience of the pick-up location (46%), price (34%) and loyalty programs (33%). Sustainability rarely impacts their choice: only 9% take sustainability into consideration, while 70% never or rarely think of sustainability when selecting a car.


The majority of business travelers book rental cars through their company’s online booking tool (88%), while 13% book via a travel agent and 12% book via the car rental website. Intermediate/standard cars are rented most often (66%), followed by compact/economy cars (19%). SUVs are rented by only 3%.


When selecting additional car rental services, travelers primarily opt for convenience. A quarter make use of pick-up and drop-off at different locations. Prepaying for fuel, returning the car with an empty tank and buying insurance from a car rental supplier are used by a tenth.

Electric cars

Remarkably, 81% never rent an electric car on a business trip. This is mainly because of complex logistics (46%), low availability at the rental location (35%) and short range (33%), whereas 12% report their company’s policy doesn’t include electric cars. Those who rent electric cars are motivated by sustainability (51%), their desire to try an electric vehicle (29%) and wide availability at the rental location (24%).


When it comes to risks, 39% of travelers have experienced risky situations when driving a rental car. The most frequently reported risks vary from driving while tired, after a long-haul flight or in unfamiliar location, to encountering bad weather and car problems. Car accidents and stolen cars are reported very rarely.

Traveler satisfaction

Around eight in 10 travelers are fairly to extremely satisfied with their company’s car rental policy and suppliers. The majority (64%) have experienced no issues with their company’s car rental policy in the past twelve months. However, when it comes to car rental suppliers, almost a third complain about low fleet availability (33%) and availability of the preferred car type (29%).

“This survey shows there’s still a significant challenge when it comes to promoting the use of electric vehicles (EVs) for business travel,” said Olivia Ruggles-Brise, BCD’s vice president of Sustainability. “This reflects the wider challenges of infrastructure and range that impact the uptake of EVs in general. Nevertheless, moving from petrol vehicles to electric will become increasingly important as new legislation requires companies to measure and report the carbon emissions of their business travel.”

Here are some tips on what companies can do:

  • Start by making EVs available to those travelers who wish to rent them.
  • Identify locations where charging infrastructure is advanced.
  • Encourage travelers to try EVs in those locations.
  • Provide further guidance on the benefits and opportunities of EVs in order to build awareness and confidence.

BCD is committed to providing clients with the insights, tools and support they need to stay ahead of the curve. The company has always been at the forefront of sustainable business travel and offers a wide range of solutions to help clients take action towards achieving their carbon reduction goals.

To view the full car rental survey report, click here.

About BCD Travel

BCD Travel helps companies travel smart and achieve more. We drive program adoption, cost savings and talent retention through digital experiences that simplify business travel. Our 15,000+ dedicated team members service clients in 170+ countries as we shape a sustainable future for business travel. BCD’s leading meetings and events management and global consultancy services complete our comprehensive suite of solutions for all aspects of corporate travel. In 2023, BCD achieved US$20.3 billion in sales. For more information, visit www.bcdtravel.com.