Automotive Blog

Another first for Roewe…

PB Blog

The Rover’s Return has gone electric in Shanghai with the opening of the first electric self drive hire station opening in the city, eHi, China People’s daily announced today.

With 20 SAIC Motors Roewe E50, available for rent at a daily rate of 149 Yuan per day*, SAIC is hoping to encourage customers and visitors to try sharing a car for local travel. Even with the government subsidy, the local cost of buying an E50 is in excess of 100,000 Yuan ($16,300). This electric rental offer is quoted as being cheaper than the gasoline-based version of the Roewe 350 which costs from 250 Yuan to rent from other car rental companies in Shanghai. The car is limited to 80-100kms between charges and so their use will be very local indeed.

Most of the E50s car at eHi have already been booked on long term rental by foreign companies in the Jiading district of the city, claims Mr Shao Wei, eHi’s PR director. Whilst the challenges of attracting customers to EVs are the same in China as elsewhere on planet Earth, this nevertheless represents an interesting new dimension to SAIC’s own-brand business having sold nearly 200,000 MG and Roewe units in China in 2012. SAIC is already building an overseas distribution network in Asia, Australasia, Africa and the Middle East but apart from a very low number of sales in the UK, its European design and engineering HQ, there has been minimal progress in establishing the MG brand in Europe so far. The company has bold plans to expand its sales, especially in its domestic market where it has been assisted by the Chinese governments ‘Buy local’ policies.

* Conversion for the daily rental rate ($32).

Written by Peter Bailey

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