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Didi plans charging stations for electric vehicles

By Ouyang Shijia | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-03 07:40

Didi plans charging stations for electric vehicles

A mobile phone user uses the taxi-hailing and car-service app Didi Chuxing. [Photo/IC]

Ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing on Thursday announced a new joint venture to roll out charging networks for electric vehicles, aimed at attaining a firm foothold in the country's booming new energy car market.

The announcement came after the Beijing-based startup last week signed up with National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, which bought the assets of bankrupt Saab Automobile AB in 2012, to jointly develop electric vehicles.

Didi Chuxing, the world's second-largest unicorn behind US-based Uber, said the company had formed a joint venture with Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization, to build the EV charging networks, and said Beijing-based GEIDCO would be its key partner.

"Didi's charging networks will not only cover our own fleet. It will also serve families and the public," Didi Chuxing's founder and CEO Cheng Wei said at a sustainable energy summit in New York.

Cheng noted that currently, Didi is the world's biggest new energy fleet operator and runs more than 260,000 new energy cars, that are partially or fully electric, accounting for around 10 percent of the total 2 million new energy cars globally. Cheng expects Didi to account for 1 million vehicles by 2020.

"The future of transport is new energy vehicles, and ride-sharing will be a key link in promoting new energy on the road," he added.

China is making a big push to develop new energy cars, as it is a key part of its Made in China 2025 strategy. China launched the 10-year national plan to transform the country into a leading high-tech manufacturing power and aims to develop 10 key sectors, including the new energy cars.

The nation is already the world's largest new energy car market and aims to reach the goal of generating a market of more than 5 million new energy vehicles by 2020. Last year, it had a total number of over 1 million new energy cars.

"In the long run, new energy, especially electric power, will gradually replace the traditional sources such as oil and coal," said Beijing-based ride-hailing expert Zhang Xu. "The move marks Didi's ambitious goal to gain new momentum in the new energy car market. Didi's car sharing business will benefit from the development of the program."

Didi said it would not rule out creating other joint ventures in the future to develop new energy vehicle programs. With more than 450 million users and 21 million drivers, Didi Chuxing claimed it was the world's biggest online transportation platform. Besides renewable energy projects, Didi is also working on integrating artificial intelligence technology into urban traffic management systems across China.

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