According to Shieber, eHi, in addition to operating a more traditional rental car model, is also looking to emulate Boston based Zip Car’s model (short-time inter-city rentals). I have serious doubts China is ready for this model, and that eHi is looking more at the PR value than the RMB value.
It took Zip Car almost a decade to build traction in the US, where there already was a rental car culture, a community around ride-sharing, and public parking lots conveniently located in multiple city locations; all three are still nascent concepts in China.
Let’s see how this plays out. It will be interesting, for sure. Most likely, though, you’ll see the traditional rental car model (with flavors of Chinese localization) proliferate long before Mainlanders are Zipping in and out of cars.