Let’s talk about Bermuda rental cars, specifically the Tazzari Zero. Cars have been an integral part of my adventures since before I even met Ariel. I once spent about 50 days living out of a car while driving over 14,000 miles around the United States. Nearly every trip I’ve ever been on (aside from backpacking across Europe) has involved a rental car. I love cars, I love driving, I love the open road probably more than any other form of adventuring.
With THAT said. Here’s the tl;dr / BLUF version: DO NOT rent a car in Bermuda.
We wanted some flexibility on our trip and didn’t love the idea of a moped…for many reasons. Bermuda doesn’t offer proper rental cars, instead you need to choose between a few tiny electric go kart type of models. The options we had at our resort were either the “Anaig Quick” or “Tazzari Zero” models, which basically boils down to if you want to sit next to your partner, or in front. We chose the Tazzari since it allowed you to sit side by side and actually looked like a normal car. It sucked. And here’s why.
First of all electric car means you can’t fill up at a gas station. You need a charging station, and there just are not enough of them that were close to anything we were going to. And charging takes forrrrrrreeeeeeevvvvvveeeeerrrrrr. Case in point, on our big driving day we wanted to drive a total of about 60 kilometers – effectively the entire length of the island and then back to our hotel. This was more than one charge could handle. At about 1/4 of the way into our journey we were at about 65% charge. Not great. So we dropped the car at a charging station in Hamilton, walked 20 minutes to a museum, spent about 90 minutes there, then went to a grocery store, and got back to the car about 2 and a half hours after we left it. And it was……only at 90%! This ended up being more than enough for the rest of the day, but without the time spent charging we would definitely not have made it.
This alone is a deal breaker if you’re going to be making lots of stops in different areas……..which is basically the whole point of getting a car in the first place! Not to mention, I spent half the drive watching the battery percentage, knowing that if we started running low I’d have no choice but to waste hours waiting for it to charge enough to get back to the hotel.
Then there was the driving itself. There’s no power steering, and turning the wheel felt like turning a rusty ship’s helm (maybe part of the charm of Bermuda?). Have fun making K-turns in this thing, which you will have to do many times since the streets in Bermuda are extremely narrow. And speaking of K-turns, not only did this thing not have a shift knob, in order to go from forward to reverse you had to push on a touch screen, which was very not responsive and required repeated presses to get it to cooperate. Definitely not ideal when trying to make an aforementioned K-turn with another car waiting for you.
Acceleration was non-existent, but that’s to be expected in a glorified bumper car like this. Sight lines were miserable. Braking was not responsive. Every bump or crack in the road sounded like the car was going to fall apart. There was also a disconcerting “boing” sound that we occasionally heard when turning the wheel hard. If this car ever had shocks, they were worn to smithereens by the time we got in. The air conditioner (during the extremely limited time we tried to use it since we were conserving battery power) took about 10 minutes to cool down and emitted such a nasty smell that we gave up on it almost immediately.
And of course the thing was absolutely tiny. I could not get comfortable to the point that the seat belt was digging into my neck and shoulder for the entire day. But whatever, that wasn’t a surprise.
All of the above I could even stomach if not for the final insult. The price.
For the privilege of driving this bucket of bolts – we paid ONE HUNDRED NINETY FIVE DOLLARS. For TWENTY FOUR HOURS. Totally and completely unacceptable.
What’s worse is that is literally your only option. There are no gas powered or even larger/better electric cars to rent on this entire island.
This is actually for a very good reason though – Bermuda’s roads are all pretty much one lane in each direction, with no shoulders or really any room at all. And I’m pretty sure the only real stretches of straight road are the bridges that link the islands together. Everything else is curves (which really hammered home how much I take power steering for granted).
The speed limit across the island is never more than 35 kilometers per hour, but frankly I don’t even know why you would want get your speed much past that. Certainly not in the Tazzari which even when the pedal was pushed all the way down only mustered around 50 KPH going downhill (with gravity doing all the work). Furthermore, at rush hour there are constantly cars on the road. Oh and obviously it’s British driving, i.e. the “wrong” side of the road for American drivers. Not a big deal for me after two weeks in New Zealand but certainly something to consider if you’ve never done it before.
It’s a small island folks, and of course the needs of the residents come before the wants of the tourists. Which by the way – made me feel even worse about the lack of acceleration. Everywhere I went it felt like there were dozens of cars just waiting for the right opportunity to get in front of me.
So between the difficulty of driving this death trap, plus the aggravation of rush hour driving on winding roads, plus the excruciatingly slow charge time, plus the ludicrously high cost, all adds up to the very first negative review I’ve ever posted on this blog. This thing sucks, don’t rent it. If you want to get around take a bus or a cab. Even if it ends up costing more at least you won’t be fantasizing about driving yourself into the beautiful waters around this island.
Finally, I’ll just note that I’ve read good things about the Twizy – which I did NOT drive. But I just don’t see how it could POSSIBLY be that much of a better experience. Even if it isn’t the functionality nightmare that is the Tazzari, you’re still limited by the charging times. If you’re only going to go to one or two places and stay there for several hours at a time while waiting for your car to charge up…well, again, what’s the point? Just take a taxi or a bus and save yourself the aggravation.
Verdict: A miserable and awful use of the time you are given. Don’t do it!
Oh and just a quick PS: I’ve driven these kind of little go kart type of cars before. They’re never that great, but this one was just terrible. And for the cost, just no thanks.