China launches electric car rental vending machine

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Motorists in Hangzhou, China, are to be treated to a revolutionary car rental scheme that allows customers to hire an electric car for around £2 an hour from a gigantic vending machine.

The idea is the brainchild of Kandi Technologies, a Chinese automotive company that specialises in electric city vehicles, and sees 100,000 electric cars housed in autonomous 'garages' dotted around the city.

The scheme has attracted a considerable investment from the Chinese government, which is keen to both improve the commute for millions of inhabitants and reduce the pollution levels that are choking a number of Chinese cities.

Similar to car-sharing schemes such as Zipcar, the Kandi electric vehicle vendors will allow customers to pick a fully charged car from the autonomous facility and drop it back to any site in the Kandi network once the infrastructure is in place.

Kandi Technologies has also considered the issue of 'range anxiety' amongst its users and has installed a clever 'side slide' quick battery replacement feature into its EVs.

This means an entire battery unit can be replaced autonomously in one of the charging centres, allowing someone to drive away with a fully charged vehicle in minutes rather than the hours taken to recharge via a plug socket.

With China set to impose a ban on private vehicles during the days when pollution is at its highest, schemes like this could be the answer to keeping the burgeoning economy moving.

Take a look at the video by journalist Aaron Rockett below for more information