Tesla valuation hits $1 trillion as Hertz orders 100 000 electric vehicles

Hertz Global Holdings, barely four months out of bankruptcy, placed an order for 100 000 Teslas in the first step of an ambitious plan to electrify its rental-car fleet. Tesla’s shares soared, pushing the automaker’s value past $1 trillion for the first time.

The cars will be delivered over the next 14 months, and Tesla’s Model 3 sedans will be available to rent at Hertz locations in major US markets and parts of Europe starting in early November, the rental company said in a statement. Customers will have access to Tesla’s network of superchargers, and Hertz is also building its own charging infrastructure.

It’s the single-largest purchase ever for electric vehicles, or EVs, and represents about $4.2 billion of revenue for Tesla, according to people familiar with the matter who declined to be identified because the information is private.

While car-rental companies typically demand big discounts from automakers, the size of the order implies that Hertz is paying close to list prices. 

"How do we democratise access to electric vehicles? That’s a very important part of our strategy," Mark Fields, who joined Hertz as interim chief executive officer earlier this month, said in an interview. "Tesla is the only manufacturer that can produce EVs at scale."

The electrification plan, which eventually will encompass almost all of Hertz’s half-million cars and trucks worldwide, is the company’s first big initiative since emerging from bankruptcy in June. And it signals that Hertz’s new owners, Knighthead Capital Management and Certares Management, are intent on shaking up an industry dominated by a handful of large players who are typically slow to change.

Tesla shares rose as much as 9.8%, the most intraday since March 9, to a record $998.74, making it one of only five publicly traded US companies with valuations above $1 trillion. Hertz, which currently trades over the counter ahead of its relisting on the Nasdaq Stock Market, surged as much as 14% to $28.25.

By locking up so much of Tesla’s production - the order is equivalent to about one-tenth of what the automaker can currently produce in a year - Hertz may box out rivals from copycatting the strategy. Hertz also is breaking with tradition by paying full price for well-appointed cars rather than the typical base-model, heavily discounted sedans that populate rental lots.-fin24

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