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January 7, 2016

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E-car rental scheme takes off in Chongming

SHANGHAI International Automobile City, which is piloting electric car rental programs in the city, has added to the green image of Chongming County by launching 60 rental service centers on the county’s three islands yesterday.

The rental scheme, known as EVCARD, was launched last year in Jiading District, known as the automobile city.

There are plans to have 200 stations in Chongming by the end of the year. The centers will provide convenient pick-up, drop-off and recharging facilities.

The program is expected to benefit local residents as well as tourists. Boasting natural sceneries, wetlands, forests and lakes, Chongming aims to ride on the electric car promotion to develop into an easily accessible eco-friendly haven for visitors from downtown Shanghai.

Cao Guangyu, deputy manager of Shanghai International Automobile City, said driving electric cars to Chongming was much cheaper than hiring taxies. For example, self-driving from People’s Square to Chengqiao Town in Chongming costs just 75 yuan (US$11.4) under the EVCARD scheme, while hailing a taxi for the same distance would cost around 350 yuan.

A trip from Chengqiao to Chenjia Town, where Dongtan Wetland is located, would cost only 30 yuan compared to between 120-130 yuan by taxi (under Chongming taxi fare).

Cao also said the EVCARD program for Chongming was an “eco-system of its own,” and will be linked to other parts of Shanghai. There are also plans to set up transfer stations for EVCARD users to quickly change into fully charged cars to ease mileage anxiety.

Roewe E50 cars will be widely used in Chongming. The cars have a maximum mileage of 120 kilometers. The other car, Chery eQ, can cover around 200 kilometers in a single charge. The transfer stations will ensure there are no fears about the batteries running out, and car renters can take in Chongming views at leisure.

Zhang Lixin, the director of Chongming County Tourism Bureau, said that the local government was studying the possibility of giving special discounts to EVCARD users for sightseeing and lodging.

EVCARD was flexible and economical way of traveling and compliments the local public transportation system, Zhang said.

The electric cars are available for rent by the hour. Users will be charged 15 yuan for the first 30 minutes, rising by 0.50 yuan per minute after that until it reaches a daily maximum of 180 yuan. Recharging at the outlets are free.

The county comprises three islands — Chongming, Changxing, and Hengsha.


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