Uber’s equivalent in China, Didi Chuxing scores another high level cooperation agreement. This time it is Continental of Germany and Didi says they want “to explore intelligent & connected vehicles (ICV) and customize new energy vehicles.”
Continental is the latest member of a massive circle Didi Chuxing is drawing around their sharing business in China. Earlier this year, they had gathered 12 major carmakers to set up an electric car sharing service together.
Didi has grown its networks since and found 31 partners among them Toyota for another effort called DiDi Auto Alliance. The latest additions were BAIC coming on board for EV charging infrastructure and also Volkswagen for delivering custom-made electric cars for sharing. This last deal remains unconfirmed however.
The certain agreement between Continental and Didi Chuxing will see Didi delivering their hardware and software solutions mainly. Says Jun Yang, VP Didi Chuxing: “DiDi will bring to the partnership with Continental our data capabilities and transportation AI expertise to advance technology innovation throughout the automotive industry chain, including hardware, software and services.”
For Continental, the deal means the first venture into the ride sharing market. They will supply what they call an “intelligent connected head unit” for DiDi’s first-generation customised shared vehicles. This model will be equipped with built-in telematics solutions.
The ride sharing service aims to built a fleet of its own electric vehicles tailored to their business needs. Didi requirements, according to Reuters, include connectivity as well as more comfortable seats and luggage space. The tailor-made transport solution is expected to rollout by 2020, says Didi, but it remains unclear, which manufacturer will built the electric car for ride sharers.
One thing is certain, DiDi is forming what looks to shape up to be a deep market penetration, if not domination of ride hailing and electric car sharing in China.