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Giant 'Vending Machines' Rent Electric Cars For $3 An Hour

Posted On: 1/28/2014

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TAGS: vending machine, Chinese vehicle manufacturer, Kandi Technologies Inc., automated garages, rent electric cars, bike-sharing stations, driving trends in China

HANGZHOU, China -- Chinese vehicle manufacturer Kandi Technologies Inc. is building a network of multistory automated garages here in one of the world's largest cities, where people can rent electric cars by the hour.

Renters can take the ultra-compact electric vehicles for a spin for about $3 an hour by after paying with their debit or credit cards. They run for about 75 miles on a charge and reach a maximum speed of 50 mph. Drivers can drop off their rented car at another Kandi station near their destination.

Each garage holds between 30 and 300 cars. Kandi plans on making 100,000 cars available for hourly rental over the next couple of years and to expand into two other cities this year. It's targeting 750 car-vending stations for Hangzhou, with 50 in place by March.

Of the 1.35 billion people in China, only 10% own a car. China has 2,700 bike-sharing stations -- the most in the world -- so people are familiar with Kandi's concept on two wheels.

As incomes have risen, more Chinese are in need of cars. The Chinese government has pledged 400 billion yuan ($66 billion) to get two million EVs on China's roads by 2020 to help get people into cars while reducing smog.