Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Autonomous Vehicles

Didi Chuxing Proposes Joint Venture With Nissan & Dongfeng, Seeks Capital Injection From SoftBank

Didi Chuxing is working with Nissan and Dongfeng to design and build electric cars that are specifically tailored to the ride hailing market in China.

Didi Chuxing is the largest ride-hailing service in China, which means it is a very large company indeed. It is proposing a joint venture with Nissan and the Japanese company’s Chinese partner Dongfeng that would build non-traditional all electric vehicles optimized for ride-hailing duties. Nissan and Dongfeng would engineer and build the cars to Didi’s specifications.

Image courtesy Didi Chuxing

Since virtually all the rides it provides would be at low speed over relatively short distances in congested cities — Didi’s two largest markets are Beijing and Shanghai — ease of entry together with a large luggage carrying capacity would have a greater priority that styling, aerodynamics, or lap times around the Nurburgring, according to Electrive. That would allow for smaller and less powerful batteries than a conventional car would require.

The joint venture between Nissan and Dongfeng in China would also take over fleet management and maintenance for Didi in a dozen or more Chinese cities. The electric cars from Nissan and Dongfeng would be capable of autonomous operation at some point in the future.

Like many other companies, Didi Chuxing is finding that creating Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicles is a lot harder than anyone realized it would be and the process has a voracious appetite for cash. Accordingly, Didi is turning to SoftBank, its largest investor, for a significant new investment in order to keep its self driving program on schedule.

According to The Information, the talks between Didi and SoftBank are part of an attempt by ride-hailing companies and automakers to bring more outside investors into their autonomous driving operations. They have found it takes a lot more time and money to develop a cost effective driverless vehicle than they anticipated, so they are looking for new strategic partners and to bankroll the research. The hope is that the self-driving car projects will eventually be spun off to become separate entities that will reward outside investors with significant profits.

Together with Toyota and Tier One supplier Denso, SoftBank has made a $1 billion investment in Uber. SoftBank has also made a significant investment in Cruise Automation, the self-driving company owned by General Motors.

The London taxi developed its iconic dimensions and shape to serve the needs of taxi cab companies and riders in that city. Perhaps a similar reimagining of the automobile is in the offing as ride-hailing and transportation as a service become more common in cities around the world.

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.


You May Also Like


Plugin vehicles are all the rage in China, having scored 286,000 registrations in August, a full 22% increase over the previous record, which was...


Mercedes and Volkswagen announce new EV battery factories.


National Drive Electric Week runs from September 25th—October 3rd this year and serves as a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness around electric cars. There...


Originally posted on EVANNEX. By Charles Morris If you can’t beat ‘em on your own, maybe you can join up with someone else to beat ‘em....

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.