Electric Vehicle Rentals Aim to Boost EV Adoption in China
APR 1 2013 BY ERIC LOVEDAY
The availability of rental plug-in vehicles is becoming increasingly common in the US with most of the major rental players offering EVs at certain locations across the country. Now, it’s China’s turn to join the EV rental party.
US-based Rent-A-Car, via its Shanghai division, will begin to offer rental electric vehicles in some of China’s most congested, smog-riddle cities. Both Shanghai and Beijing are scheduled to take part in the EV rental scheme, which kicked off last week. Eleven additional cities will join the program at a later date.
The goal is to get urban dwellers in China into electric vehicles in hopes that they’ll be overjoyed by the driving experience and then decide to buy one. This is all part of China’s grand push to fill its roads with 500,000 plug-in vehicles by 2015 and five million by 2020.
Achieving that lofty goal takes some creative thinking, which for China includes subsidizing rental rate for plug-in vehicles. Through this EV rental program, curious and potential buyers can rent a plug-in vehicle for only 100 yuan (US $16) a day, and 998 yuan (US $160) a month. Yes, that’s cheap even in China, where the average monthly income per individual is 4,387 yuan (US $706).
Will the EV rental program work? We doubt it. The Chinese seem incredibly reluctant to purchase plug-in vehicles, so why would renting one be different?