China’s largest ride-hailing startup, Didi Chuxing has announced that it is set to partner with Beijing Electric Vehicle Co (an affiliate of automotive giant BAIC) in a new joint venture. The duo will seek to combine their strengths and undertake electric and hybrid vehicle projects and develop “next generation connected car-systems.”
Delivering a range of app-based transportation options for more than 550mn users, the JV will enable Didi to look at solving some of the biggest challenges with regards to transportation, environmental, as well as employment challenges as the result of digitisation. Building strong partnerships with leading players in the automotive space, such as Grab, Lyft and Careem, the business now reaches over 80% of the world’s population.
The JV, named BAIC-Xiaoju New Energy Auto Technology (Jingju), also aligns with China’s aim to curb the growing levels of pollution across its major cities. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers has predicted that new energy vehicle sales in the country will hit 1.6mn in 2019, CNBC has reported.
DiDi started partnership programmes with automakers and fleet operators in 2016, and launched the Didi Auto Alliance, an industry-chain partnership network in April 2018. Xiaoju Automobile Solutions (”XAS”)was soon created to build out a collaborative driver/car-owner service platform through integrated auto-finance, leasing, trading, charging and refuelling, and maintenance operations.
With the support of policymakers, China is accelerating its systemic transition to new energy vehicles. BAIC has announced plans to stop the manufacturing and sale of gas-driven car models by 2025. Close to 400,000 new energy vehicles are registered with Didi in the world's largest shared EV network, many through the company’s partnerships with leading EV manufacturers including BYD.
To build a sustainable and more robust shared mobility ecosystem, XAS is also attracting OEMs, dealers and independent fleet operators to put their fleets on Didi’s open car-sharing programme to share Didi’s scale of operation, service standards and data capabilities. XAS now serves drivers/car-owners on Didi and beyond through the main Didi app and a separate XAS app.