DiDi recruits automakers to explore a new open EV car-sharing program for the Chinese market
DiDi Chuxing, a Chinese ride-hailing technology firm with strong ties to AI development, has entered into an agreement with 12 prominent automakers, including the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. The partners hope to build an “open car-sharing platform” with a focus on EV ride-sharing in the years to come.
Beyond their intentions, little else was stated about the groups’ plans, although Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi added that the move “underlines the commitment to new mobility services at the Alliance, including the launch of robo-vehicle ride-hailing services, as part of the Alliance 2022 strategic midterm plan.” Gven that DiDi’s business is already largely made up of app-based mobility services, it’s also likely that this will play a part.
In addition to the Alliance, DiDi’s network of partners also includes a raft of Chinese manufacturers, including BAIC, BYD, Chang’an, Chery, Dongfeng, First Auto Works, Geely, JAC and Zotye.
However, it’s not just automakers the Chinese tech giant – which merged with Uber in China in 2016 – is planning to pair up with. It believes that by forming partnerships with businesses from EV infrastructure operators to after-sales provides, such as repair services, it can lower costs and improve efficiency by creating an “open ecosystem of collaboration” within the industry.
The developer is already using “Smart Traffic Signals” in major cities in China to improve local commuters travelling time and traffic. These Smart Traffic Signals integrate DiDi’s traffic data with resources from business partners and uses these to communicate with its users through its transportation platforms. Marrying this with the prospect of working with businesses from all areas of the transportation industry, it is easy to see why automakers such as the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance are interested in joining forces.
DiDi Chuxing general manager for the Express Mobility Group, Chen Ting, spoke of the benefits such alliances would bring to its strategy:
“Strategic partnerships with the world’s leading industry players like Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi will enable us to pool our strengths and resources to meet diversified mobility demands and create an open, sharing-based transportation ecosystem, as we innovate vehicles for a future of ridesharing, AI technology and new energy.”
It is unsurprising that automakers are rushing to join forces with developers and ride-sharing companies such as DiDi, given reports of the projected increase in car-sharing. A study from GM Insights recently forecast that the global car-sharing market could grow by up to 34% annually from 2017 to 2024. In China, it will be closer to 40%.
Coupled with the Chinese government’s push to lower emissions and electrify transport, this offers major opportunities for automakers willing to invest in these technologies now. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, like many other automakers, is shifting towards a more diverse model and is evidently keen to form a larger network with businesses from all portions of the transportation industry.
If partnerships with DiDi are successful, its resulting “ecosystem of collaboration” could hopefully become more widespread throughout China and further afield.