According to Treehugger.com, the vending machines are from a company called Kandi Technologies Group (KTG), and are based on an already successful bike-sharing vending machine model. It works likes this: A user first calls up a small electric vehicle. Robots remove one from a vertical stack and deposit it through a door, completely ready to roll. When the driver is done they simply return the vehicle to the machine. No new parking spot required.
KTG has built two such vending machines in China's fourth largest city, Hangzhou. The shared cars can travel 50 miles per hour with a 75-mile range and cost $3.25 per hour to rent. According to documentarian Aaron Rockett, another 18 vending machines are planned in cities like Beijing and Shanghai. All told, the new vending machine plan would result in around 100,000 new electric vehicles on the road by 2017.
The new Chinese middle class wants to own cars, but cities are scrambling to limit the amount of autos on the roads as urban populations continue to boom. The local government in Beijing, for example, is slowly reducing the number of license plates issued while giving a greater share of those license plates to electric vehicles, the The New York Times reported .