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E-car rental service begins in Shanghai

SHANGHAI – Shanghai-based car rental company eHi Auto Services Co. is to launch its first electric car rental service in the city’s Jiading District early April, reported

The company will open three electric car rental stores in the district where the international EV test drive and demonstration zone is sited.

The first batch of 50 Roewe E50s has been purchased and ready for service. The company aims to expand the fleet to 200 green cars by the end of the year, including other EV brands such as Chery, Zotye and Lifan.

The E50 has both quick and slow charging modes and has a drive range of up to 190 km on a full charge. The top speed is 130 km/h. The two-seater e-car was launched by Shanghai Automotive Industry (Group) Corp. (SAIC) at around $37,600 at the end of 2012.

“Consumers are still hesitant about buying electric cars because their maintenance and charging services are unsettled issues,” said Zhang Ruiping, CEO of the company. “By taking care of these things, we can give the public more opportunities to experience green mobility.”

The combined expense, including insurance, handling charge and rental fee, adds up to ¥100 ($16) and ¥150 for a day.

Earlier this year in Shanghai, a local bus and passenger vehicle rental service company announced a plan to lease the Roewe E50 also starting early April with the daily rental no more than ¥200.

The company has purchased 97 Roewe E50s to provide the EV rental service.

“Usage cost of electric cars will be much lower than that of the gasoline cars,” said a sales manager from the company.

The company also provides long-term rental service targeting government and corporate clients, which can choose to install charging poles at designated sites.

In the middle of 2012, Lifan Industry (Group) Co. acquired a small taxi company in Shanghai. The deal allowed Lifan to supply cars to the taxi operator and enable it to expand into new businesses such as taxi services and car rental.

The taxi company, Shanghai New Concept Taxi Services Co., has a small fleet of 53 taxi cars. Lifan plans to replace all of them with electric ones with its own EV products.

Shanghai just released a set of incentive regulations on purchase of new energy vehicles at the end of 2012, including that NEV buyers will be given the car plate for free instead of an auction.

The regulations said the central finance subsidy is up to ¥60,000 coupled by an extra subsidy of up to ¥40,000 from the local finance.

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