Shanghai’s primary auto manufacturing base and the Jiading district government plan to launch an electric car rental service in the district next year, the Oriental Morning Post reported Monday.
The planned service, which will operate as a pilot program, could offer commuters a more convenient and environmentally friendly transportation option, but an industry analyst cautioned that most local consumers have not warmed up to electric vehicles.
The service will provide 100 electric cars at rental stations located at some local government offices, universities, residential compounds, office buildings, shopping malls and metro stations in Jiading district, said Cao Yue, an engineer with Shanghai International Automobile City, which will operate the service.
Jiading has already been outfitted with 387 charging poles for electric vehicles, Cao said.
The service will rent vehicles on both a short-term and long-term basis. "Short-term customers are commuters who do not have easy access to nearby locations," Cao told the Global Times. "The government and companies may rent cars on a long-term basis."
Cao pointed out short-term rentals allow many customers to use the same car in a single day, which could free up parking space and reduce energy consumption.
However, the immaturity of the industry may put off consumers, said Chen Wenkai, president of Gasgoo.com, an automobile news and information website. "Compared with regular automobiles, electric cars remain in a nascent stage of development and are less reliable. Most people don't know a lot about them. What if the car runs out of electricity halfway to your destination and you do not know how to deal with it?" Chen told the Global Times.
Chen said the service will be more appealing to companies and government agencies than individual consumers.
Cao said the service will help promote electric vehicles to the public.