The Future is Waiting for You in Car Vending Machines
We’re used to seeing those brightly-lit vending machines in schools and work places, showing off delicious candy bars, sodas and salty chips. (Now I’m hungry and I only have myself to blame.)
Vending machines have been around forever, and after so long they’ve evolved to sell some pretty weird stuff, including phones, live crabs, mashed potatoes and canned bread. These days however, they’re really getting a face lift that we want to chat about.
Can you imagine walking past a large building on the street, only to realize that it’s a giant vending machine? I have to ask …how large are those buttons?! And how, in the name of techandburgers, are we going to get a building-sized chocolate bar home?! The madness!
Okay, so they won’t hold massive candy bars. However, they are going to sell …wait for it…
Yes, in recent news, Alibaba announced that it is striking a deal with Ford to help them sell their electric cars in China. But not at just any car dealership. Oh, no. They’re selling them from vending machines, of course! Duh, right?
Car Vending Machines
‘Car Vending Machines’ are now a thing, resembling some sort of futuristic car park made from giant building blocks and Lego pieces. The idea came to Alibaba, at a time when they’ve been trying to increase their offline sales.
How it Works
When someone is looking to purchase an electric car, they can download Alibaba’s Taobao app to browse potential vehicles. From there, users can choose a color they want to see, and input some basic information about themselves. To finish the search, users are required to take a selfie that will help them to retrieve the vehicle from the car vending machine.
Once the vehicle has been extracted from the car vending machine, users have three days to test it out. If they like it, they can immediately pay for it through Taobao, or they can arrange to try another style and color.
The Future of Car Purchasing
The first two models of this car vending machine are said to be available for use starting in January, both in Shanghai and Nanjing. If all goes well, plans are to build dozens more vending machines across China in 2018. If the systems are fairly error-free and used often, then chances are the quote “I’m heading to the vending machine, anyone want anything?” will mean something totally different next year.
Basic Rules of Car Vending Machines
There has been some question about the ease of using this device, with many wondering if absolutely anyone can fill in a few boxes and be granted the right to drive around a new car for a few days.
Luckily, this kind of thing has already been considered (rightly so), so there are a few rules in place. Firstly, users can only test drive up to five cars every two months, so there’s no option to drive around a new car every few days for the rest of our lives. (Sorry guys.)
Secondly, free test drives are only available to individuals who have reached a specific level in Alibaba’s credit-scoring service. Thirdly, they must be Alibaba Super Members, and have a valid driver’s license.
Unbeknownst to me, there are a few vending machines already littered around the globe, including some in Singapore, Germany and Nashville.
Would you test out your next car from a vending machine? Do you think this kind of impressive technology is necessary? Comment below!