Hertz, one of the leading car hire companies in the world, has announced the addition of the battery-electric Nissan Leaf vehicle to their fleet. Beginning in early 2011, the Nissan Leaf will join both the major markets of the United States and Europe, shortly after the international release of the highly anticipated electric car.

Hertz spokesperson Paula Rivera confirmed that the group expected the car to be available in US cities within the first few months of next year, but also added that the list of destinations for the new vehicle was still being finalised.

The total number of Nissan Leaf’s that will be released onto the US and European markets is also at this stage undetermined, as it is influenced by the production schedule of the manufacturer. The exact charges that will be applied for customers wishing to rent the Leaf are still not set either.

Hertz, currently embroiled in a battle for the ownership of the Dollar Thrifty group with rival Avis, has 2,100 rental locations throughout the US, with California tipped as the first state to see the new technology. Ms Rivera said that when the release does take place it would be in a high-demand area, with past releases of similar initiatives – such as the Toyota Prius – showing strong interest from California. A similar, if not greater, interest is expected for the Nissan Leaf.

California will also offer a cash rebate of $5,000 for all buyers of green vehicles, which is sure to strengthen sales in the state.