Didi Chuxing Partners with China's State Grid, Explores EV Services
Didi Chuxing is looking to extend its automotive offerings and network through local partnerships. Widely known for its ride-hailing app, the company announced a collaboration with an EV subsidiary of the State Grid Corporation of China.
Both groups will work on making EV charging stations (and related services) easier to access in the country. At the moment, Didi services roughly 400,000 EVs on its open car platform. This figure is expected to increase in the coming years, as EV adoption in China continues to grow and existing State Grid customers start to use the platform for their EV needs.
The collaboration fosters cooperation across various niches within the auto sector. Based on the agreement between the two parties, State Grid's EV charging stations will be linked to Xiaoju Automobile Solutions – Didi's robust open car platform. The ride-hailing company invested around $1 billion into its platform in April 2018. Through Xiaoju Automobile Solutions, local customers may access a plethora of EV-related services, such as overviews of nearby EV charging locations, car maintenance, leasing and more.
Initially, such offerings will launch in central and southeast regions including Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangsu, Shandong, Shaanxi, Hunan and Jiangxi. Didi's auto solutions platform is currently available in 257 locations and encompasses more than 7,500 partners.
"The creation of Xiaoju Automobile Solutions is not only a key step towards achieving Didi's automobile alliance strategy but also a milestone in organizational innovation as we continue to expand our business horizon," said Cheng Wei, Founder and CEO of Didi.
"There is a chance for us to lead the world's next transport revolution in China."
State Grid's EV charging network consists of more than 50,000 stations, making it the largest operator of EV charging hubs in the country. By the end of 2020, the company wants to double the capacity of its EV charging stations. Impressively, State Grid is the largest public utility in the world, with assets allocated in various overseas locations, including Italy and Australia (according to its official website). It currently employs a whopping 1.6 million employees.
New Business Ventures
Under the collaboration, Didi and State Grid will explore new business models designed to expand their footprint in the EV industry and promote sustainable transportation. Both companies plan to improve purchasing and after-sales, which could result in better customer experience. In exploring new business opportunities, Didi will be able to diversify beyond ride-hailing and bike-sharing services. It is also expected to leverage its vast database of customers, which averages around 450 million users across 400 cities.
"We are seeing a great revolution which integrates the internet of information, the internet of energy, and the internet of transportation. Didi hopes to play an important part in promoting such integration so as to make cities better," said Wei.
Outside of its partnership with Didi, State Grid has ongoing projects with well-established companies, such as Tencent and Vancouver-based computer hardware manufacturer RealWear. The business has received numerous awards for its contributions to clean energy and large-scale power distribution networks.
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