Renting an electric car in Australia is pretty difficult. There’s evee.com.au who offer a car sharing option, but Thrifty also have a single Tesla Model S at Sydney Airport which can be booked specifically.
It’s not cheap, but if you’re looking to experience the future of cars generally; or jump in a Tesla more specifically; it’s a fun option to at least price up and consider – if Thrifty have it available.
Booking Thrifty’s Tesla Model S in Sydney
Thrifty has some dedicated pages on their website about this Tesla. It’s probably the most celebrated single car in their fleet. Right now though it is unavailable for booking online – I don’t know why.
I called Thrifty but couldn’t get a clear answer out of them as to whether this is temporary or permanent, and I’ll keep an eye on it. If you do have success booking the Thrifty Tesla, please leave a comment and let us know!
You may have some success by calling the Sydney Airport location directly to ask about availability – this is at 02 9582 1762 and option 4 – option 1 (for reservations) just leads to the overseas call centre.
To try and book online, then you have to use promo code 4908007105 otherwise it doesn’t come up in the list of available options when looking for a car from Sydney.
Thrifty also offer a 15% discount for members of “Auto Clubs” – so the NRMA, RACQ and other state equivalents – plus a free additional driver. To access this offer you’ll need to use promo code 4908007114 instead of the one above.
Most Auto Club memberships require breakdown coverage or an insurance policy, however the RACQ offer a “Lifestyle” membership at $26 year which will get you a member number. This is ideal as the cost of this will likely be less than the discount on your rental.
How much does it cost?
With the Auto Club discount, in my previous searches the Model S was usually pricing at around $190-$220/day. There’s also $1,100 refundable deposit charged to your credit card.
The pick up of the Thrifty Tesla was pretty seamless. They have a Model S 75, and it was plugged into a Destination Charger in the Sydney Airport car park ready to go for me on arrival.
The staff seemed a bit bemused that someone was actually renting the Tesla – the car used to be positioned in Canberra up until some time in 2017, and I am guessing it was moved to Sydney to get more business, and the team were excited that it was getting out and about.
I had the car for around three days all up. It was given some spirited driving with a friend south of Sydney, charging at my local Stockland before dropping it back.
Thrifty also included the Tesla Mobile Connector to allow for charging from a wall socket.
Of course you would also have access to Tesla’s Destination Charger and SuperCharger network whilst on the road.
In addition to the standard Thrifty Terms & Conditions, the company also have these Special Conditions specifically for renting a Tesla Model S:
- Must be 25 years old or over
- Must hold a full, current, unrestricted driving license for the duration of the rental period
- A security deposit of $1,000 on an approved credit card (Mastercard, Visa, Amex, or Diners)
You can find the full details of the Special Conditions here.
Summing up – Thrifty’s Tesla Model S
This was a fun way to try out a Model S in person for a few days. I can imagine it would work well for potential buyers looking for an extended test drive, people looking to experience an Electric Car or a Tesla, or for EV-knowledgeable or environmentally-conscious travellers looking to avoid renting a ‘fossil’, which is otherwise pretty hard in Australia.