This story about Didi Chuxing was first published by Gas2.
Didi Chuxing is the largest ride-hailing company in the world, with more than 450 million users and 21 million drivers. Each day, it provides rides to 25 million customers — twice as many as all the other ride-hailing services combined. Most of its users are in China, but it has plans to aggressively expand operations into other markets.
DiDi already has a quarter of a million electric vehicles in its fleet. Co-founder and chief executive officer Cheng Wei says he expects that number to rise to 1 million within 3 years. Speaking at a sustainable energy conference this week, Cheng said, “We have started new joint venture projects to build our own EV charging systems. DiDi’s charging networks will not only cover our own fleet. It will also serve families and the public.” In other words, it will be similar in concept and scope to Tesla’s Supercharger network.
DiDi will partner on its electric car charging infrastructure project with the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization, a Chinese entity that describes its mission as “Establishing global energy interconnection” and “Achieving green and low-carbon development.” Cheng says, “The future of transport is new energy vehicles, and ridesharing will be a key link in promoting new energy on the road.”
Didi Chuxing also announced this week a new partnership with NEVS, the successor to the former Saab automobile company based in Trollhätten, Sweden. NEVS is now owned by a consortium of Chinese investors. In a press release, the two companies said they will focus on developing self-driving cars to satisfy the transportation needs of the world in the near future.
“NEVS have many years of solid innovation experience, based on the Saab heritage. We now combine this with the knowledge and the progressive mindset from an outstanding company like DiDi. It’s a perfect match that the whole ecosystem will benefit from,” says Kai Johan Jiang, Chairman and main owner of NEVS. “Ever since NEVS was established, we have been working hard to realize this important milestone in the automotive history.”
The first NEVS cars are based on the original Saab 9-3 sedan, which still looks remarkably fresh considering it was first penned more than 10 years ago.
DiDi and Uber were slugging it out for dominance in the Chinese ride-hailing market a year ago. Both companies practically gave rides away for free in order to build their respective client bases. DiDi eventually bought out Uber’s interest in the Chinese market for a paltry $100 million.
Last August, it announced that it would partner with Uber’s main European rival, Taxify, and plans to grow into markets in Hungary, Romania, South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. “Taxify provides innovative, high-quality mobility services across many diverse markets. We share a strong commitment to harnessing the power of mobile technology to satisfying rapidly evolving consumer demands and revitalizing traditional transportation industry,” said Cheng at the time. “I believe this partnership will contribute to cross-regional smart transportation linkages between Asian, European and African markets.”
DiDi is committed to environmentally friendly mobility technologies from carpooling to on-demand minibus services. Its focus on reducing urban congestion and air pollution resulted in eliminating 1.44 million tons of carbon dioxide that would otherwise have found its way into the atmosphere in 2016. It is already the largest ride-hailing service in the world and plans to continue being the industry leader for years to come.