Ford and their Chinese partner Zotye have officially signed the contract for their planned joint venture which will provide electrified solutions for fleet operators and drivers in China to help address the fast-growing ride-hailing market.
The new 50:50 joint venture between Zotye and Ford Smart Mobility, which is a subsidiary of the US American vehicle manufacturer, is now officially real and calls itself Zotye-Ford Smart Mobility. The required state permission by the Chinese government has not been granted yet, however.
This joint venture was kicked off by the idea to provide drivers and fleet operators with ride-hailing services from a single hand, including the rental of electrified vehicles, fleet management as well as intelligent networking and infotainment services. Ride-hailing services are generally conducted in private vehicles, with passengers using apps to pay for the service.
With a starting capital of 20 million dollars, the joint venture is planned to take it’s seat in Hangzhou, the capital of the Zhejiang province. At first, the service will concentrate on establishing itself within the province, before expanding beyond it’s borders in incremental steps. As their first rental vehicle, the partners are looking at the Zotye Z500 EV, which is a fully electric sedan with a 330 km range.
Furthermore, the new joint venture will work towards cooperating with another global joint venture, which Ford and Zotye founded last November named Zotye Ford Automobile Co. Ltd. This joint venture was founded to focus on developing a series of affordable electric vehicles for the Chinese market. The initiative is also owned at 50:50 stakes between the partners.
With a look at sales numbers, Zotye took the fifth place on the Chinese market last year with a total of 36,979 sold vehicles. The first three places were taken by familiar names BYD, BAIC BJEV and SAIC with sales numbers of 113,669, 104,520 and 44,236, respectively. These numbers refer to both battery-electric vehicles and hybrids collectively.