Electric Vehicles Dispensed By Vending Machines

In the city of Hangzhou, China, with a population of 10 million, and which already hosts the largest bikeshare service in the world, there is now electric vehicle carsharing delivered by giant vending machines.

Chinese EV vending machine

Photo: Screen capture from Aaron Rockett film

The initiative setup by Kandi Technologies is an electric vehicle carshare system modelled off Hangzhou's bikeshare service. Customers can hire a car on an hourly basis, at $3.25 USD per hour, from automated garage buildings that house 30 to 300 vehicles. When the customer wants to rent a car they pick it up from a tall garage building, looking similar to a vending machine, which delivers the car at ground level. Customers can pick up a car from one garage and drop it off at another.

So far two garages have been completed in Hangzhou, with another 18 currently under construction, and 50 should be in place by March, 2014.

The cars have a range of 120 kilometres and a top speed of 80 kilometres per hour, and are for inner-city use only.

In the next four years, it is expected that 750 garages will be built, with Government and other support. Over the next couple of years, Geely Automotive, China's largest automotive producer, will supply 100,000 electric vehicles in a 50/50 joint venture with Kandi Technologies.

Hangzhou bikeshare was the first of its kind in China and it has now spread to 19 Chinese cities. With 120 million cars in China already, and 80 million extra cars expected by the end of the decade, the electric vehicle vending machine could be one alternative to owning your own car, and could be one solution to relieve traffic problems, such as air pollution, in other Chinese cities.

The service is expected to roll out in 2 to 3 other Chinese cities during 2014.

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Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014