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Kunming to invest in public electric car fleet

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The Kunming municipal government is moving toward the acquisition of all-electric cars that will be made publicly available by year's end. Once delivered, the vehicles would become the centerpiece of a public transportation initiative designed to reduce general traffic congestion and cut down on overall tailpipe emissions in the Spring City.

Kunming deputy mayor Wang Chunyan (王春燕) traveled to Hangzhou on a fact-finding mission concerned with the scheme earlier this week. While there, he met with government counterparts and automotive industry leaders to discuss the city's electric car-sharing fleet — a first in China when inaugurated in 2013.

Hangzhou officials have been lauded for the implementation of a public car rental system that relies on automation and cars using no gasoline. Wang wants Kunming to emulate this system. Following a meeting with Hangzhou deputy mayor Zhang Zheng (张耕), Wang told reporters he expects the Spring City to make an initial purchase of 2,000 electric cars by December 2015.

At its inception, Hangzhou's 'micro-transport' (微公交) system made available two thousand electric cars built by Zhejiang-based Kandi Technologies, a subsidiary of manufacturer Geely. People who need to rent a car for a few hours or days can present their national identification cards and driver's licenses, along with valid credit cards, at rental centers resembling outsized vending machines. Once registered, customers choose between two- or four-seat cars, both with top speeds of 80 kilometers per hour and a single charge range of roughly 90 kilometers.

Two years on, the Hangzhou fleet has quadrupled in size to 9,850 vehicles. They rent for between 20 and 25 yuan per hour, a fee that includes insurance. Long-term leases are also available — 9,000 yuan for year-long use of a two-passenger car and 14,400 yuan for a four-passenger version. The cars can be re-powered, or have their batteries replaced, at any rental facility or at an expanding network of quick-charge locations.

Deputy mayor Wang said Kunming would adopt the Hangzhou project and adapt it for implementation in the city. Kandi cars will be utilized, but a pricing scheme has yet to be announced. Kunming urban planners want to alleviate at least some of the traffic jams that stifle commuters on a daily basis. Wang's proposal also targets the related problem of perpetual parking shortages — which once caused some garage spaces to fetch yearly prices of 180,000 yuan (US$29,000).

Kunming's frenzy of car buying perhaps reached its zenith in 2010, when 1,000 new cars were being registered in the city each day. Costly infrastructure projects aimed at easing traffic congestion have been largely hit-or-miss. This newest solution of publicly sharing e-vehicles has become quite popular in China's largest metropolises, as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu and now Kunming have all followed Hangzhou's lead.

Top image: China.com
Bottom image: Zhejiang News

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Perhaps this will help alleviate some of the problems brought about locally by the expansion of the Chinese automobile industry over the past 8 years or so.

Great news. I assume foreigners won't be able to make use of it, but I would very much welcome anything that brings down the number of cars bought and driving around on the street.

Way to go, Kunming. Perhaps you're a spring city after all. And what a timeframe!

I would certainly like to get one if possible. lets see what pans out.

Great idea to reduce emissions, but I fail to see how this "solution" will reduce traffic congestion which is a result of poor road design and idiot drivers.

My wife is from Shandong and that is the solar capital of China. They make all sorts of solar stuff including cars. After I visited there we tried to get a solar/elec car and bring it to KMG but when we inquired here they are NOT allowed. Lets see if this chnages the rules here so we can get our own and not have to buy the only one they offer from Hangzhou.

when i was in mangshi there were 2 seater electric cars every where. its from a chinese producer, but they were more expensive a bmw 1 series.

That is the scam to avoid the Ecar - Sell it at a ridiculous price so no one can buy it or make hybrids which are absolutely useless and expensive.

Great Video - Who killed the electric Car.

saw it on discloese tv no doubt

designed to reduce general traffic congestion - electric car-sharing fleet - People who need to rent a car for a few hours or days - They rent for between 20 and 25 yuan per hour, a fee that includes insurance. Long-term leases are also available.

This is why I mention the video - Who Killed the Electric Car - because they dont let you own it you can only lease or rent it - there lies the SCAM.

E-cars should be banned, especially in China where most of the power is produced with coal. The main problem of the climate change, carbo-footprint discussion.

Unfortunately no emission, doesn't mean they are clean. Electric cars only pollute other elements.

At the moment e-cars are toys and due to the lack of range, loss of storage capacity and the dirty production of those cars and some of their components.

So unless, the technology advances dramatically, in a very short time and better storage capacity is available, and the production of battery components cleaner and away from, exploiting workers in poor countries and poisoning their water sources. It's just a problem shift, if not making things worse.

They will continue to be just, feel-good cars, but not helping the effort at all.

The future of the car and the cleanest way, is hydrogen cars and hybrids. Although for now, the production of hydrogen is still complicated, and not as clean as it could be, in a few years it will be.

If you want to help, there are investment platforms helping to put money in gas station networks. The main reason, we don't see more of them. The industry is ready, they fixed most of the hiccups. The only thing they need for the customer is a solid refueling stations network.

I also want less cars in the city and certainly smaller vehicles would help. So, for now hybrids are the best solution.

Until the power is produced emission free and the batteries getting better, E-cars are useless and more expensive than a good, efficient and reliable hybrid.

For the life of me, I can't remember the Japanese vendor - but they've essentially given up on battery storage and are focusing on hydrogen fuel cells. The strange thing about that is, Mercedes unloaded their hydrogen fuel cells division to a canadian firm and committed to batteries.

The key disadvantages of fuel cells is they require water, to generate the Hydrogen gas, and a source of energy (as in natural gas, solar, etc) to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen.

The clear advantage - the fuel cells burn clean - although the long term impact of 100 million cars generating water vapor every day might be worth modeling, to theorize the long-term environmental impacts.

@dudeson's is somewhat correct, depending on the region of China one lives in - but for now it's more the lesser of two evils. Does a migration to e-vehicles increase or decrease a city's carbon footprint, when factoring in the major carbon footprint from energy production, and is the change significant enough to justify the cost and investment in infrastructure.

so they are still gonna need to burn carbon fuels to generate the ennergy to convert h2o to h2 and o for the foreseable future unless there is a techno leap in solar

3 wheel cars are cimmon in the NE. I wish they were electric & in KM.

Are you guys seeing these electric cars around or parked in their own spaces? I think I haven't!

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