As start-up companies such as ZipCar and RelayRides change how we went rent vehicles here in the U.S., Kandi Technologies Group is hoping to revolutionize how people get around China.
The entrepreneurial project, part of a 50-50 joint venture with Geely and supported with $65 billion in government monies, is expected to put 100,000 new EVs on the streets of the city of Hangzhou in eastern China over the next four years, according to HybridCars.com. Even more fascinating, however, is the company’s plans to construct 750 automated garages that essentially function like giant vending machines by dispensing EVs all over the city in the same time period.
The smart-car like Kandi EVs, according to promotes, are a big step up from the 120 million electric bikes and scooters used in China and offer top speeds of 50 mph and a range of 75 miles per charge. The cars also feature amenities such as power windows, air conditioning, and a stereo. In addition to a $3.25 hourly rate, Kandi also offer long term rentals for around $130 to $160 per month which include insurance, maintenance, and electricity to recharge the EVs.
In all, there are nearly 1.35 billion people living in China but car ownership is one-tenth the percentage of U.S. ownership. As the Chinese economy continues to grow at a rapid pace, however, many people living in the country would prefer to ride around in their own car rather than on the back of a bike on a bus or train. Currently, more than 50 garages under construction in Hangzhou are due for completion by March 2014.
Despite it’s new position in the marketplace, Kandi’s plan is already being praised for potentially solving pollution and parking issues and its huge growth potential. Should the plan be successful in Hangzhou, Kandi is expected to expand the model to other cities and regions in China including Shanghai, Shandong, and Hainan.