A car vending machine in Hangzhou, China hopes to provide citizens with a viable alternative to traditional car ownership.

Created by Kandi Technologies, this huge vending machine holds between 30 and 300 electric vehicles and allows users to rent on an hourly basis at a rate of $3.25 an hour. It also offers a leasing option of one to three years which costs between $130 and $160 a month, including maintenance, insurance and charging.

Vend anything

We’ve seen a growing interest in renting over the past few years: from animals to household items and textbooks.

This is thanks to the lasting impact of the recession impinging on consumer finances as well as a rise in smaller homes which in turn reduces the amount of space available to store items.

Meanwhile, urbanization is on the rise, leading to a growing interest in alternate forms of transport as cities struggle to cope with the growing number of cars on the road.

At the same time, vending has become a popular method by which to sell items thanks to the convenience it affords both the buyer and the seller.

This car vending machine speaks to all these issues. It provides a simple, reliable and affordable way for Chinese citizens to rent an electric vehicle. This may go some way to reducing the number of cars on the road as well as familiarizing users with electric vehicles. And this seems necessary: According to Mintel’s Car Retailing China March 2013 report, sales of new cars grew 4.3% in 2012 while sales of used cars grew 10.6%.

Other cities and brands would do well to look at how they can innovate when it comes to delivery methods. This example shows that size needn’t be a limiting factor.

For a deep and complete analysis of the current situation of the automotive industry, Mintel published the following market research: Car Retailing – March 2013 in China.

This is an observation from our Inspire trend Cool Vending which looks at how Consumer expectations about what, when and where they can buy have changed vending machines forever.. For the latest trends and observations on Inspire click here.