In China, It’s Cheaper to Rent an Electric Vehicle Than a Near-Identical Gas One
In a crowded, overly polluted city, would you rather rent an electric vehicle or one that spews emissions into the atmosphere?
That’s sort of the question China’s Jiading (one of Shanghai’s 18 districts) district is hoping to find the answer to with it latest auto rental program that focuses solely on offering EVs.
eHi Car Services now has 20 SAIC Motors Roewe E50 electric vehicles available for rent at one of its locations in Jiading.
The idea is to offer the E50s at a price that’s comparable to (or even cheaper than) conventional rentals.
In China, electric vehicles are often quite costly to buy. For example, the typical EV costs approximately 100,000 yuan ($16,290) in China even after local subsidies are taken into account. That’s thousands more than a small gas-burning auto.
But the rental agency will overcome the price disparity by offering EV rentals for 149 yuan ($24 US) a day, a price which includes insurance and competes directly with similar gas-fueled rental automobiles such as the Volkswagen Lavida. In some case, the Roewe E50 is cheaper to rent than gas rivals.
Why the cheap rental rate? It’s to encourage resident of China to try out electric vehicles in hopes that they’ll eventually buy one. Who knows, it might actually work.
Unfortunately, eHi says most of its rental EVs have been booked by foreign companies who operate in the Jiading district. These booking are long term and will allow company to provide some of their employees with a means for commuting short distances to and from work. These aren’t then in the hands China’s private sector, but rather owned (well, sort of) by international corporations.