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Kandi Crush: An Electric-Car Vending Machine From China Could Upend The Auto Industry – Forbes

China is growing so fast it’s sometimes difficult to get different sources to even agree which the biggest cities are and how many people live in them. But that said, among them is a name unfamiliar to most Americans, the city of Hangzhou, located in eastern China, and home to 8.7 million as of 2010. That would make it the biggest city in the U.S. even though it’s barely a third the size of Shanghai, the world’s largest. But Hangzhou isn’t just big, it’s also home to an ambitious experiment that combines electric vehicles, giant vending machines and a Zipcar-like business model. Oh, and if it works, private car ownership as we know it is probably going to disappear in the world’s biggest cities.
The Chinese have begun to fall in love with the automobile as prosperity has rained down over the past two decades. But with that love affair has come some of the world’s worst air quality. With perhaps 80 million new cars expected on China’s roads by the end of the decade (joining the 120 million already in use), the government has taken the drastic step of actually limiting the number of new license plates it will issue. Notably, even within the limits will come a gradually increasing quota that requires many of the new vehicles to be green — running on natural gas or electricity.


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