Building is a vending machine for electric carsharing in China

kandi carsharing vending machine

China’s cities are blanketed by toxic haze with air pollution that can shut down places like Beijing. Of course, there are many citizens who want to move from a scooter to a car, but that could create more pollution. In steps carsharing, and an idea from Kandi Technologies Group that its small electric vehicles could be part of the solution in the city of Hangzhou, an hour-long train ride from Shanghai.

Kandi produces a small, Smart-car like EV that can go 75 miles on a charge and reach a top speed of 50 miles per hour. Seems like boilerplate EV territory, right? Except that they’re being stored in vending machine-like parking garages and can be rented for $3.25 per hour…

Through its joint venture with Geely Automotive, Kandi plans to build 750 of these garages in Hangzhou over the next four years. This will be supported by the government and Kandi’s 50-50 joint venture with Geely Automotive. Kandi wins, too, since it could supply up to 100,000 EVs to serve carsharers. If things work well in Hangzhou, this business model could spread to other Chinese cities and regions such as Shanghai, Shandong and Hainan.

I probably need to take a half-step-in here and sort out the usual myths about air pollution causes. Motor traffic is not the major source – almost ever. China’s problem is the same that afflicted the UK back when Glasgow was known as Auld Reekie and London’s famous fog was in fact smog.

The solution in China will occur with the completion of plans to do what London did – in the 1950’s. Eliminate coal fires for cooking and heating in homes. Good for 50% of all pollution. It will take completing a build-out of NatGas transmission pipelines and supplies – and hooking up all those homes.

I remember living through the same conversion in the New England factory town where I grew up. Believe me I did not miss waking up in the morning, throwing open my bedroom window and scraping away the layer of soot from the window sill before I leaned out to check out the day.

Chinese automaker snaps up Volvo in $1.8 billion deal


Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has purchased Volvo cars from U.S. auto giant Ford, the Swedish carmaker announced Sunday.

The $1.8 billion deal represents the biggest ever purchase by a Chinese car manufacturer, but it is considerably less than the $6.4 billion Ford paid for Volvo in 1999.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Ford, enabling us to safeguard and strengthen Volvo’s renowned brand heritage,” said Geely chairman Li Shufu.

“Volvo will be a separate company with its own management team based in Gothenburg, Sweden.”

He added Geely will help Volvo to realize its potential in the Chinese market.

“The agreement provides a solid foundation for Volvo to continue to build its business under Geely’s ownership,” said Alan Mulally, Ford’s president and CEO, in a statement on the company’s Web site. “The sale of Volvo will allow us to further sharpen our focus on building the Ford brand around the world and continue to deliver on our One Ford plan serving our customers with the very best cars and trucks in the world.”

Nice PR lingo which – in fact – I expect to continue along in reality. Geely is in the learning stages of becoming an extra-national brand. Ford is in the learning stages of how to be a global brand in the 21st Century.

Ford agrees to sell Volvo to Geely


My wife would like this V30 to be her next car – with the turbo-diesel

Ford has agreed the terms of the sale of its Swedish business, Volvo Cars, to China’s Geely.

Ford said “some work still remains to be completed” but the deal will be finalised early next year ahead of completion soon after Easter…

Geely was named preferred bidder in November. If completed, it will be the largest purchase by a Chinese car firm.

The question for Volvo is whether its new Chinese owner will do more for the marque than Ford did.

On one level, the decade-long US-Swedish partnership can be seen as a successful. They benefited from each other’s technology and expertise. But although many new models have been introduced in recent years, Volvo sales have not increased much.

That may change under Geely, which will market Volvo in the fast-growing Chinese market.

No details were given of how much the deal is worth, but it is widely rumoured that Geely will pay Ford $2 billion, less than a third of the $6.45 billion Ford paid for Volvo in 1999…

“In theory, the Chinese market could be an opportunity for Volvo,” Nomura’s auto specialist Michael Tyndall said. “It’s a well-known brand, has a good heritage and a range of products that should appeal to the Chinese consumer.”

Equally, the deal should help Geely get into the Western market.

RTFA – especially if you’re not a motorhead. I wouldn’t even say there’s a devil in the details over this deal.

A recession is the best time in the world for someone with bucks to make a deal like this – and the tax break on a loss is advantageous to Ford, as well. They’ve already derived every hidden benefit of platform sharing with Volvo and learned a lot about design in the process.

Disclosure: I own a wee bit of Ford stock. My wife owns an ancient Volvo. 🙂