Maui has the world’s only biodiesel rental car company in the world – Bio-Beetle – and recently they expanded their fleet to include electric vehicles. This comes right in the wake of a new county initiative to add an electric vehicle support system via the Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance. Bio-Beetle opened in January 2003 to offer the most environmentally friendly rental cars in the world.
The fleet includes 17 cars: one Jeep Liberty, 13 Volkswagen beetles and Jettas that run on bio-fuel, two Toyota Priuses and one Nissan Leaf. The Leaf was the first electric vehicle offered for sale on Maui.
“The Leaf was rented out for one day by an Oahu resident who is considering buying one,” says Bio-Beetle president Shaun Stenshol. “We also just rented it out to someone staying in Hana for five days where the bed and breakfast had an outlet for her to plug into to. They both loved the car.”
Since expanding the fleet to include the Prius and the Leaf, Bio-Beetle has not added any biodiesel vehicles. But they still see bio-fuel as the most environmentally friendly option overall and will continue to add biodiesel vehicles when the timing is right.
“Because of the price of diesel vehicles, we pay a lot more for our cars then other rental car companies,” says Stenshol. “That is the single biggest challenge we face. Adding electric and plugin cars is even more expensive. Also it’s very hard to compete with the large car rental companies already here. Most people book through the major online travels sites and don’t know we exist. Those major travel sites won’t take any ‘new’ companies, even when we are offering a different service, so we have to rely on word of mouth, repeat renters, travel guides and people searching on their own.”