Hertz, a private rental vehicle company, and the City of Atlanta created a public-private partnership in 2023 with the goal of accelerating electric vehicle (EV) adoption. There are many co-benefits of this program, such as encouraging private citizens and the public government to purchase their own EVs, in addition to overall economic and environmental benefits to be gained by the city and its citizens. The partnership outlines a fleet of 4,000 EVs to be used as rental cars and ridesharing programs in Atlanta. Hertz is also partnering with a local education outlet, the Atlanta College and Career Academy (ACCA), to increase education about EVs and their operation and maintenance.
Hertz Chair and CEO Stephen Scherr and Mayor of Atlanta Andre Dickens shake hands at the launch of Hertz Electrifies Atlanta.
The public-private partnership between Hertz and the City of Atlanta fits in seamlessly with the city’s Historic Clean Energy Plan (launched in 2019) which outlines steps Atlanta needs to take to transition to 100% clean energy by 2035. On the private side, the partnership further expands the Hertz Electrifies program.
Outputs & Outcomes
Outputs: Clean Cities Georgia has worked to encourage public-private partnerships through hosting events that bring public government officials and private sector business representatives together. The Clean Energy Roadshow is one example of this. By co-hosting and sponsoring this event put on by Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, the right people are brought into the same room for networking opportunities revolving around the important topic of clean transportation and electrification. The coalition also engages in advocacy and gathers informational resources for the public sector, like the City of Atlanta, to encourage electrification progress and keep these goals at the forefront of city officials’ minds whenever possible. Through the Newly Elected Officials’ Training Program that Clean Cities Georgia participated in in 2023, over sixty elected officials from different municipalities were able to learn more about the funding opportunities available, as well as potential public-private partnerships to participate in, such as the Hertz-Atlanta partnership.
Outcomes: Electrification is advanced in the City of Atlanta, which encourages the metropolitan region of Atlanta to do the same. From there, surrounding areas and smaller cities across Georgia now also have the opportunity to engage in this sort of partnership, now having the roadmap and leadership of Atlanta to model after.
Best Practices & Lessons Learned
Public-private partnerships are an extremely useful tool to accelerate EV adoption. The public sector has political and regulatory leverage that can help businesses in the private sector, such as Hertz, to reach their goals. On the other hand, the private sector has financial capacities and technological innovations that can further help the public sector to reach pledges and other goals related to decarbonization efforts.
Even if the program is not specifically designed to accelerate private EV ownership, it can accelerate the progress by 1) familiarizing citizens with EVs without citizens needing to purchase the vehicle, and 2) facilitating more charging infrastructure that can then be shared by private citizens, as well as the users of the Hertz-Atlanta partnership.
Because of the different strengths each player brings to the table, convening the public and private sectors together for coalition-sponsored events is an invaluable tool in advancing electrification efforts.