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Didi Chuxing BYD D1


Didi Chuxing & BYD Team Up To Make The D1, An Electric Ride-Hailing Vehicle

Didi Chuxing and BYD had teamed up to build the first electric car designed exclusively for use as part of a ride hailing service.

Two of China’s largest corporations, Didi Chuxing and BYD, have joined forces to create an electric vehicle designed from the ground up to serve the needs of the ride hailing industry. Called the D1, the car is said to have a 100 kW electric motor and a range of 418 kilometers (NEDC). Didi is the largest ride hailing service in the world, with 550 million registered users and 31 million drivers. It says it provides more than 60 million rides a day. You may recall that Didi and Uber had a monumental brawl in 2016, which saw Uber leave the Chinese market with its tail between its legs after suffering huge losses.

Didi Chuxing BYD D1

Credit: Didi Chuxing

So, what makes a car suited particularly for ride hailing duty? Number one is an extra comfy driver’s seat for those who will be piloting the car for hours upon hours every day. Next is sliding doors on both sides so passengers don’t interfere with bicyclists and pedestrians as they enter and exit the vehicles. Styling is contemporary, as is the avocado green paint. Didi also operates a bikesharing service and its bikes are painted the same color. Squint a little and the D1 bears more than a passing resemblance to a Volkswagen ID.4 that has been crossbred with a minivan.

Up  front, there is a central touchscreen and a small screen in front of the driver that serves as an instrument panel. The back of each front seat also has a touchscreen for the use of rear seat passengers. The D1 is equipped with Level 2 autonomous driving technology as well as lane departure warnings, automatic braking, and a pedestrian collision warning system. There will also be a driver monitoring system to ensure that drivers keep their hands on the wheel and stay focused on the road, according to The Verge.

The two companies say they started working on the design of the vehicle two years ago. Didi says it used data gathered from its passengers and drivers to design the D1. “To ensure a reliable and more cost effective supply for its drivers’ network that today delivers as many as 60 million trips per day, DiDi China has been building a deeper automotive ecosystem for its core mobility service by establishing an extensive alliance with manufacturers, energy providers and other industry players in the value chain.”

Didi says it has “about 1 million” electric cars on its ridesharing platform today. As the EV charging infrastructure expands with each passing day, there will soon be no excuse for using anything but electric cars for ride-hailing duty. There just will be no reason not to.


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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we heed his advice.


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