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Low-cost rental and test drives help boost EV market in China - ELECTRIC CHINA WEEKLY No21

10 July 2013

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In China, EV rental companies and manufacturers are promoting electric cars by providing customers with opportunities to test-drive and experience the cars. In June, BMW launched a one-year test drive for its ActiveE electric car in Beijing. In July, eHi Car Services opened the fist low-cost electric rental outlet in Shanghai.
Whilst local governments in Shanghai and Beijing have issued subsidised purchasing policies to promote private use of electric cars, several EV rental companies and manufacturers have also taken steps to create opportunities for customers to experience electric cars in the hope that this will spur more purchases. For example, eHi Car Services opened the fist low-cost electric rental outlet in Shanghai and BMW launched a new test drive for its ActiveE electric car in Beijing. 
The first electric car rental outlet opens in Shanghai
On July 8, eHi Car Services opened China’s first electric car rental outlet in the Jiading District of Shanghai. The Shanghai-based car rental company has 20 Roewe E50 electric cars made by SAIC Motor available for rent. The company has set a goal of having 200 electric cars for rental in Shanghai in 2013/14.
Individuals can rent one of the cars for RMB 149 (~18,8 €) per day. The rent is even cheaper than SAIC Motors' Roewe 350, a gasoline powered car, which is identical to the E50. The Roewe 350 costs from RMB 250 (~31,5 €) to RMB 280 (~35,3 €) a day.
According to eHi, foreign companies in Shanghai have booked most of the electric cars for their employees to travel short distances. Some customers are also renting electric cars to travel to neighbouring regions during holiday periods or to go to airports in Shanghai.
BMW launches ActiveE test drive project in Beijing
In June, BMW launched a test drive project for its ActiveE electric in Beijing. 20 consumers have been selected to join in the project, which gives potential EV customers the opportunity to use the ActiveE EVs for a year. Participants in the Project can use charging points installed at fixed parking places by the State Grid Corp of China.
Compared to the demonstration project for BMW’s MINI E electric car in 2011 in China, which allowed 50 participants to use MINI E for free of 10 months, participants have to pay RMB 4,200 (~528,9 €) per month to use the Active E. by charging project participants BMW aims to get a picture of the real market potential for electric cars in China and better prepare for the commercialisation of electric cars in the country. Karsten Engel, president of BMW Group Region China said: "We will make concerted efforts with our partners and customers to push forward with the commercialisation of electric vehicles, and get fully prepared for the era of e-mobility." 


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