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Next Carsharing Advance: Electric Cars From a Vending Machine

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the plus-you-get-a-nickel-deposit dept.

Transportation 62

cartechboy writes "When you're in a waiting room and get hungry, what do you do? You hit the vending machine for a candy bar or some salty snack food. Now, if you're in China and you need to borrow an electric car from the local car-sharing service, you can do exactly the same thing: go and get one from the vending machine. Just like the Smart-car dispensers seen across Europe, the Kandi car-sharing service dispenses two-seat electric cars with a 75-mile range from a big tower that looks like a huge vending machine full of candy, errrrr, cars. It costs $3.25 an hour to rent one, and China hopes it'll help cut emissions from transportation. So the next time you're in China, and you need a car, just hit up the biggest vending machine you can find."

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Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45806497)

In Fascist China, car rents you!

Re:Interesting (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#45806631)

Nah, cars are considered sentient beings only in Japan.

Sounds like (2)

Krojack (575051) | about 10 months ago | (#45806499)

Borderlands game play to me.

sounds familiar (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about 10 months ago | (#45806513)

I think I read that novel [amazon.com] .

Horse penises up your ass. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45806517)

fp

Interesting, but... (2)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about 10 months ago | (#45806519)

If this is the sole purpose of your visit, you might want to wait a while.

They've only built two of the car-vending machines so far (although they're working on more).

Re:Interesting, but... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#45806865)

Nah, it'll take you weeks to get your license, unless you bribe for it. But bribery is punishable by death in China, so I tried to avoid it. It's common, but as a foreigner it's too easy to break convention and get in trouble.

Re:Interesting, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45806973)

You do not need to get a new driving license for every country you visit.

Re:Interesting, but... (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#45807247)

You do for every country that doesn't recognize international drives licenses. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Driving_Permit#Countries_Recognizing_IDP [wikipedia.org]

Re:Interesting, but... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 10 months ago | (#45808617)

You do for every country that doesn't recognize international drives licenses.

No you don't. Just because a country doesn't recognize the IDP doesn't mean it doesn't recognize other foreign licenses. I have never had a problem driving in China with my California drivers license.

Re:Interesting, but... (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#45809363)

And I've read where it explicitly states that foreign licenses are not valid in China. Did you ever get pulled over? By your logic, driving without any license at all is legal, so long as nobody finds out.

Re:Interesting, but... (1)

paulatz (744216) | about 10 months ago | (#45807899)

If you a have a fetish for self-service rent of electric cars you've better of visit Paris. Its autolib [autolib.eu] service provides ~2000 cars to ~50k customers; it also exists since December 2011.

Re:Business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45810719)

Sell it near Bar/Pub!

Re: Interesting, but... (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 10 months ago | (#45809903)

I hope this goes international, seems like a great idea compared to a taxi, especially if they can figure out daily and weekly rates too.

Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam that (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#45806543)

IS big in the usa with rent a car places and this system may even end having no one one site and you just get a bill the mail for the damage and they will not fix it and just bill each renter.

Re:Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam th (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45806611)

How would you fit an American in a car that small?

Re: Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam t (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45807149)

Yes, our gigantic penises and testicles would indeed make that a challenge.

Re:Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam th (3, Insightful)

Krojack (575051) | about 10 months ago | (#45806629)

Anyone else get a headache trying to read this?

Re:Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam th (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45806695)

Slightly, but I'm skilled in the linguistics of potato. Let me try and translate:

As I understand it, this guy's insisting that car rental places are running a scam whereby they bill you for pre-existing damage to the car, and believes with a giant Chinese car vending machine in place, you'd just automagically get billed for damage to the car, without any human involvement.

As someone who rents cars all the time, I've yet to ever receive any sort of bill for pre-existing damage, superficial or not. I'm kind of curious if he's full of shit (aka, taking a car back with massive new dents from, say, throwing potatoes at it) or if there's a specific rental outfit I should continue to avoid.

Re:Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam th (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#45806861)

I've gotten a bill from a rental with a pre-existing window chip. It was even noted on the walk-around. I pointed that out, and they agreed to go after the guy who had it before me. They will try their best to make *someone* pay. Even if unethically. Likely, they would try to make the guy *after* me pay for it, even with proof it was pre-existing, if he didn't note it on the damage card (it wasn't listed on mine, but I added it).

Some places are better than others. I've rented a car in Bethel, AK that looked like it was rolled. There was about 1/4" of mud coving the floor, and half the plastic trim inside was falling off. most of the time for the first day, every time I tried to close the door, I'd end up pulling out some piece off the car door.

They didn't inspect the car for damage before accepting it back. Though they did initially apologize because they didn't have time to clean it before I got there (they had a fleet of something like 3 cars, and I got the worst one, as it was busy then).

Re:Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam th (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45807271)

that is what you get for renting from el-chico's shitball rent a car behind a gas station

Re:Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam th (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#45807371)

Which, one of the majors trying for fraud against me, or renting a car in a town so small the bug players don't go, and el-chico's is the only place? And isn't el-chico a little racist? It implies Mexicans are cheap and low quality. There are plenty of immigrants in Alaska, but a larger number are Pacific Rim or Caribbean. Perhaps "rent-a-wreck" is what you meant, though a large chain stole the name after it had been used in jest for years.

Re:Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam th (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 10 months ago | (#45809953)

Somewhat irrelevant trivia: in Toronto there is a moving company called "El Cheapo." Their motto is "Don't be a shmoe call EL CHEAPO" (replete with missing comma.) Ecce [staticflickr.com] !

Re:Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam th (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#45807393)

I also take photos of every single bit of damage before I accept the car. The ones they try to bill are the ones that dare to not buy the add on "insurance" You want the insurance right, because something might happen to you. Guido, tell him more about the insurance...

Re:Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam th (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 10 months ago | (#45806923)

Who prevents you to walk once around the car and photograph it from all sides (with your cell phone)?

Re:Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam th (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#45807063)

but at that point the car is your responsibility and ours ends as soon as it comes out of the vending system.

Re:Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam th (1)

fredklein (532096) | about 10 months ago | (#45807187)

You're talking about the BandAid method. BandAids come with "Sterility Guaranteed unless opened" printed on them. Of course, you can't check to see if they're sterile without opening them, and then they are no longer guaranteed to be sterile.

Re:Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam th (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45808895)

I tried to get one out of the vending machine but it jammed. I swiped my card again and got a second car free. Bonus!

Re:Will they try to pull the ding and dent scam th (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#45809331)

you have to return the car as each hour it's out will cost you and I think when hit's so much then it's the full price of the car and that better not go over your credit limit as then it's GTA.

Japan already did that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45806585)

is there anything new for us to try that Japan hasn't beat us to?

Re:Japan already did that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45806697)

Some suggestions:

Gender equality.
Ending racism.
Preserving whales and dolphins.
A relaxed attitude to work and career.

Re:Japan already did that (2)

Njovich (553857) | about 10 months ago | (#45806855)

Assuming you are American: you have none of those. (and neither does my own country)

Re: Japan already did that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45806945)

That's why it's a new thing to try.

Re: Japan already did that (1)

Njovich (553857) | about 10 months ago | (#45807031)

Wow you're right, I misread that. Sorry!

Re:Japan already did that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45808111)

Gender equality
They've seen how well that works out for childraising and decided that it wasn't a good direction to go. Also recall that Japan is a country which had a matriarchal period that lasted about a century, long before the US even existed. They would sooner return to that then go to a crazy free-for-all where no one's roles are clear.

Ending racism
It's culturalism, not racism. Whether you are black white or asian, if you do not "act" Japanese they look down on you. However if you abide by the cultural norms that Japanese typically abide by, no one will even think twice. Of course there are some groups that organize around racist ideals, but judging the entire country based on these groups would be like judging the US for allowing the KKK to exist.

Preserving whales and dolphins
Meh, even without outside pressure these industries are dying. They can't even give whale meat away.

A relaxed attitude to work and career
They already capitulated to western society and started giving both Saturday *AND* Sunday off as of the 90s; they're getting there. They also have more national holidays than many other countries, including the US. Finally, Japan is a country of hard workers who both 1: have a sense of honor and 2: are not [intellectual] idiots, which is why they generally get things done. If an asteroid were going to wipe out the earth in 10 years, I fully expect the Japanese to be the ones to accomplish interplanetary space flight in that time. The chinese will make a knockoff that explodes in the atmosphere and the US would still be filling out paperwork to make sure everyone's ass is covered if something goes wrong.

Re:Japan already did that (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about 10 months ago | (#45809057)

Ending racism
It's culturalism, not racism. Whether you are black white or asian, if you do not "act" Japanese they look down on you. However if you abide by the cultural norms that Japanese typically abide by, no one will even think twice. Of course there are some groups that organize around racist ideals, but judging the entire country based on these groups would be like judging the US for allowing the KKK to exist.

I'd say with just a few exceptions (the KKK being a notable one), most racism is culturalism in reality.

In other words, when I look down on people who suck the government teat dry, and teach their children to do so instead of attempting to make something of their lives, it's not racist unless I only look down on (say) black people who do so. I personally look down on any such person regardless of race.

And it never fails that someone will say, "Of course that's racist... only [insert color of person here]s do that!". Pot, meet kettle.

In plain english (3, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 10 months ago | (#45806619)

A "car vending machine" is an automated garages, only instead of giving you your own car back when you insert your credit card in the slot, it gives you a rental car.

Not really an earth-shattering concept...

Re:In plain english (1)

JWW (79176) | about 10 months ago | (#45807083)

In my mind I pictured a vending machine like many pop machines.

You select your car then it clangs around through the machines inside and comes out at the opening at the bottom ... a mangled heap.

Of course not how it would really work, but a funny juxtaposition of calling these things "vending machines."

Re:In plain english (1)

fisted (2295862) | about 10 months ago | (#45807473)

Yeah and the not-yet-sold cars are held in place by large metal spirals poking through em

Re:In plain english (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about 10 months ago | (#45808603)

Not earth-shattering, but potentially quite useful, especially if you can pick up the car near where you are, and drop it off near your destination. That would be much more practical than the current car-rental paradigm, where you have to find a place near your destination to park the rental car, continue paying for the rental car while you're at your destination, and likely pay for parking as well.

Re:In plain english (1)

hawk (1151) | about 10 months ago | (#45809735)

>Not really an earth-shattering concept...

A bulldozer dispenser, however . . . :)

hawk

Fine, until one gets jammed in the dispenser... (4, Funny)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 10 months ago | (#45806693)

I can see the headlines now:

Twelve Dead, Dozens Missing After Disgruntled Customer Tips Vending Machine

Re:Fine, until one gets jammed in the dispenser... (4, Funny)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about 10 months ago | (#45806755)

Some people will go to any length to try and get free Kandi.

Re:Fine, until one gets jammed in the dispenser... (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#45807047)

Or

car stuck court rules renter must pay for time stuck and costs to fix car and dispenser

Driving in China (2)

kwerle (39371) | about 10 months ago | (#45806725)

OMG. Do not do it.

Got back from three weeks vacation out there. Driving is insane.

*ALL* driving rules are optional. And you might be thinking 'yeah, I sometimes break the driving laws.' No. It's not like that.

Do you routinely cut off oncoming traffic to make a left?
Do you routinely stop in the middle of the street and get out of your car (for whatever reason)?
Do you routinely drive down the emergency lane on freeways?
Do you routinely drive on the wrong side of the road?

These are all things that happen *all the time*. Not just sometimes. Insanity.

Re:Driving in China (4, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#45806833)

You complain about the driving, but did you drive?

I've driven in many places, and the chaos from the backseat seems less from the front. Unless you are just a bad driver.

I opened this article to point out that the summary is likely impossible. China is one of the few countries that didn't join the International Driving Convention. So, unlike most of the world, it's not legal to get an international license and drive there. You *must* get a local license. So the summary of "So the next time you're in China, and you need a car, just hit up the biggest vending machine you can find." is bad (and likely illegal) advice. When I was there, I looked at getting a license, and it was explained to me that the tests are only given in Chinese, so it'd be hard for a foreigner to pass, but there are services advertised that state they will be a translation service (but sound like you pay someone to take your test for you). I didn't want a license that bad, so I just let it go.

Re:Driving in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45809169)

Its not only in Chinese if you have a license already. Its similar to other countries but instead of having a 6month maximum international license deal China has zero. And its probably on the smart side since laws aren't "common sense" .. I learned to drive in China.. That was all in Chinese.

Re:Driving in China (1)

kwerle (39371) | about 10 months ago | (#45809429)

I have traveled to many western countries (US, several in europe). I have driven in a few of 'em. I did not drive in Italy or Greece - I was poor at the time, and it looked pretty hairy.

China is not like that. Driving in China is insane.

Re:Driving in China (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#45809593)

So you know it's insane because you haven't driven in it. I'm not sure I understand that logic. I also had the Golden Rule explained to me by a local, and with that in mind, everything else made a little more sense.

Re:Driving in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45817805)

Been to China, they probably obey the road rules more than Turks but there are more vehicles that are unsafe by design. I'm talking about trucks that have been modified to carry more than their legal maximum load and not look like it and their 3-wheeled trucks built from what looks like a motorbike front half with a tray welded on the back.

Re:Driving in China (1)

hawk (1151) | about 10 months ago | (#45809755)

I've driven in NYC, Boston, Chicago, SF, LA during the freeway shootings (which my observations suggested were largely justified), and San Diego.

I live in Las Vegas with bad drivers from all of the above in no predictable pattern.

The night I learned to drive, my father took me down the aptly named "Blood Alley" in San Jose.

There's only one place I'm afraid to drive: a Roman Catholic parking lot after Mass . . .

*shudder*

hawk

Re: Driving in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45926879)

Don't you mean after communion?* That's when those really desperate to get the hell out of there are flooring it in the lot...

*Typically 3-8 minutes before the actual dismissal prayer. Some have been seen receiving communion and then walk right out of Church rather than returning to their pew to kneel, pray, and wait for the announcements and final prayers. Why anyone boxed into the parking lot feels there is a time advantage in doing this, well, God only knows.

BTW: this traffic safety phenomenon may not be unique to Roman Catholics. I suspect parking lots in any parking lot in motor city Detroit to be less safe than a parking lot of a similar faith in say, Memphis or Pascagoula.

Re:Driving in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45809015)

Eh, it's not so bad really. You missed my favorite, though -- driving backwards on the highway when you miss your exit! Funniest thing in the world.

It is zip car with a vertical parking lot (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 10 months ago | (#45806919)

Nothing new. Nothing special,

Not very space saving design of the car lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45807103)

I noticed from the video how much space there was between two rows of cars. I would have expected that it would be able to park more cars than in a standard car parking lot, in this case it looks like there is more space.

Why have a separate machine? (1)

karmatics (1918220) | about 10 months ago | (#45807111)

I don't understand why the car itself can't be the vending machine. Insert your credit card into the car, etc.

Re:Why have a separate machine? (2)

fisted (2295862) | about 10 months ago | (#45807515)

Because insert rock into car, or insert car into truck, is more difficult that way

Re:Why have a separate machine? (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 10 months ago | (#45808357)

Zipcar does that in the US. Well, not exactly as easy as using a credit card, but you have to apply and get their card. The car constantly reports its location to their system though. So if it moves when it is not supposed to move, the authorities are notified and lo-jack or whatever they have is activated.

Zoot Marlowe (1)

Mathness (145187) | about 10 months ago | (#45807859)

Uhm, are they developing androids as well? If so I recommend people grab "Tubular Android Superheroes" to get tips on how to avoid being mind controlled.

tVroll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45808001)

and Mic&hael Smith a Need to play

Don't rock THIS vending machine! (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 10 months ago | (#45809157)

If, after you drop your roll of quarters (or renminbi equivalent) into the machine and the car does not quite drop off the end of the rack, call for help. Rocking this vending machine could be fatal.

hyperbole (1)

dwater (72834) | about 10 months ago | (#45811065)

> The traffic is like none North Americans have ever seen as well; Six rings of highways in Beijing, every road completely jammed with cars at all hours of the day.

That's where I stopped reading. Utter nonsense/hyperbole.

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