Didi Chuxing announced that it will partner with state-owned car company BAIC and Volkswagen to build a fleet of electric taxis and further implement artificial intelligence solutions in their cars.
Under the deal, Didi will now gain access to vehicles built by BAIC, as well as technology used under BAIC’s Xiaoju New Energy Auto Technology Co. (or Jingju) fleet operations and artificial intelligence solutions. Meanwhile Volkswagen will help the ride-hailing app focus on the management, sales, operations, repair and maintenance of their services.
The announcement was made in releases sent out by Didi and Volkswagen on Monday, January 28, although exact details about the timeline and implementation of the deal are, as yet, unclear. In their release, the ride-hailing app stated “Today, close to 400,000 new energy vehicles are registered with DiDi in the world's largest shared EV (electronic vehicle) network, many through the company’s partnerships with leading EV (electronic vehicle) manufacturers like BYD.”
The partnership comes as China aims to vastly increase its overall EV army by 2030. BAIC also recently announced that they plan to cease the manufacturing and sale of gas-driven car models by 2025, while Volkswagen have said that they want to spend billions on making all of their cars run on electric energy.
The taxi ecosystem has been changing swiftly in China, most notably in Shenzhen, where local government recently announced that almost all of the city's public taxi fleet are now electric-powered under their ‘Shenzhen Blue’ initiative.
The benefits of that change have already been felt, as Shenzhen experienced its cleanest air in 15 years throughout 2018. According to a report by the Shenzhen Human Settlement and Environment Commission (SHSEC), this was in large part thanks to the city’s ‘Shenzhen Blue’ project.
With files from Jonathan Zhong
[Cover image via Unsplash]