Nissan and its China partner Dongfeng are currently in talks with Didi Chuxing to establish a joint venture with Didi’s ride-hailing and car sharing services. The Japanese and Chinese car makers should supply Didi with electric vehicles.
Negotiations have been going on since last year and were reported by Reuters this week with reference to five insider sources. Nissan-Dongfeng would be responsible for the development and construction of vehicles tailored to Didi’s requirements.
According to Reuters’ sources, the cars designed for sharing should be fully electric and will eventually run autonomously. These cars will look quite different from vehicles now on the roads. Since the vehicles would be for city commutes, they will not require higher speeds or features appealing to car owners such as big wheels and aerodynamic styling. The sharing cars would, therefore, have smaller engines and more room for luggage.
A partnership would help Nissan meet Chinese production quotas for NEVs (New Energy Vehicles, i.e. electric, hybrid or fuel cell vehicles). The deal would be similar to a project Volkswagen set up with Didi last year.
As part of the planned contract, the joint venture between Nissan and Dongfeng in China would also take over fleet management for Didi in around a dozen cities. According to the report, this would include not only the ride-hailing fleets but also the maintenance of car-sharing vehicles.
Not all of the vehicles supplied would run under the Nissan brand. It is also possible that Dongfeng may supply an unspecified proportion as well.