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Transportation China

Next Carsharing Advance: Electric Cars From a Vending Machine 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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Next Carsharing Advance: Electric Cars From a Vending Machine

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  • by Krojack ( 575051 ) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @02:08PM (#45806499)

    Borderlands game play to me.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @02:10PM (#45806513) Journal

    I think I read that novel [].

  • by egcagrac0 ( 1410377 ) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @02:10PM (#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).

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      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.
    • by paulatz ( 744216 )
      If you a have a fetish for self-service rent of electric cars you've better of visit Paris. Its autolib [] service provides ~2000 cars to ~50k customers; it also exists since December 2011.
    • 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.
  • 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.

    • by Krojack ( 575051 ) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @02:27PM (#45806629)

      Anyone else get a headache trying to read this?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          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
          • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

            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...

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

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

            • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward

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

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Some suggestions:

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

      • by Njovich ( 553857 )

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

  • In plain english (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @02:26PM (#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...

    • by JWW ( 79176 )

      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."

      • by fisted ( 2295862 )
        Yeah and the not-yet-sold cars are held in place by large metal spirals poking through em
    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      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.

    • by hawk ( 1151 )

      >Not really an earth-shattering concept...

      A bulldozer dispenser, however . . . :)


  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @02:36PM (#45806693)

    I can see the headlines now:

    Twelve Dead, Dozens Missing After Disgruntled Customer Tips Vending Machine

  • by kwerle ( 39371 ) <> on Saturday December 28, 2013 @02:42PM (#45806725) Homepage Journal

    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 (Score:5, Informative)

      by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @03:03PM (#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.
      • by kwerle ( 39371 )

        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.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          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.
      • by hawk ( 1151 )

        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 . . .



  • I don't understand why the car itself can't be the vending machine. Insert your credit card into the car, etc.
    • by fisted ( 2295862 )
      Because insert rock into car, or insert car into truck, is more difficult that way
      • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • > 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.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?