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Electric car rental starts in Shanghai

SHANGHAI – Shanghai opened China’s first electric car rental outlet yesterday (July 8) as the city continues its drive toward green mobility after granting free car plates and providing hefty subsidies to encourage purchases of private electric cars.

The store, located in Jiading District where the Electric Vehicle International Demonstration Zone is sited, was launched by Shanghai-based eHi Auto Services Co which aims to deploy 200 electric cars in the city this year.

Customers can rent 20 Roewe E50 electric cars made by SAIC Motor for 149 yuan (US$24.27) each daily, cheaper than renting gasoline models of the same size.

A major reason for the lackluster sales of green cars is that very few people – only 9 percent of respondents in a survey – had driven them while the survey conducted by Shanghai International Automobile City (Group) Co last year found that more than 64.9 percent had heard of electric vehicles. Concerns over limited charging infrastructure and high battery maintenance costs could also scupper a potential purchase.

Cai Lihong, senior vice president of eHi Auto Services Co, said the company will provide free recharging services at the electric car rental outlet.

He also said another two outlets will open this year in Jiading with more planned for other districts in the city.

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