Could a Car-Share Vending Machine Put a Dent in Private Car Ownership?

A start-up tech company and electric car maker have teamed up to develop a radical car-sharing experiment. Observers are excited about the project's potential to attract urban drivers and improve notoriously poor air quality across China.
December 30, 2013, 11am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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In the city that's home to the largest bike-share program in the world you'll also find "an ambitious experiment that combines electric vehicles, giant vending machines and a Zipcar-like business model," reports Mark Rogowsky. "Oh, and if it works, private car ownership as we know it is probably going to disappear in the world’s biggest cities."

"A company called Kandi Technologies plans on making 100,000 cars available to the residents of Hangzhou for hourly rental over the next couple of years," he explains. And instead of requiring acres of urban real estate to store their cars, Kandi is using automated garages that "work like giant vending machines" (see the video below).

"If it goes as planned, there will be more EV drivers in Hangzhou than anywhere in the world and other Chinese cities will almost certainly adopt the technology quickly," writes Rogowsky. "It’s unlikely too many people who come to the automobile through this per-hour-usage model will want to become car-owning, parking-space seeking, insurance-buying folks in the future."

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Published on Saturday, December 28, 2013 in Forbes
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