China’s largest ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing has initiated an electric vehicle project which will be led by vice president Yang Jun, Late Post reported on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Huawei revealed that it will launch a fully electric sedan on April 17, according to its Weibo account.
Didi didn’t immediately respond to KrASIA’s inquiries, and the Late Post report didn’t provide more detailed information on how Didi will approach the EV production.
Vice president Yang is also chief product officer for D1, a customized EV for ride-hailing that was launched by Didi and BYD last November. He also serves as general manager for the subsidiary Xiaoju, which provides services such as auto rental and sales, vehicle maintenance, as well as recharging.
“Didi wants to seek other breakthroughs beyond its core ride-hailing business so that the company can tell new stories to attract investors,” said Rui Ma, a US-based investment veteran and podcaster.
Didi has been expanding into areas including freight shipping and community group-buying in the past year amid market speculation that it is planning an initial public offering in the US. “It makes sense for Didi to be in the EV making race since it works for Xiaomi and Baidu, which are not as relevant to the automotive industry,” Ma said, adding that the markets are responding well to this.
In January, Baidu and Hangzhou-based Geely, which owns the Volvo brand, announced plans to release an EV in three years. Xiaomi will spend USD 10 billion over the next ten years to build its own model.
Huawei found its EV partner in ArcFox, a brand owned by BAIC BJEV. Its fully electric sedan, named Alpha S, will be presented on April 17 in Shanghai. It will set a new bar for the automotive driving sector, Huawei said on its official Weibo account, without offering further details.
“The sector is still at the very early stage, with only a few companies having delivered more than 10,000 vehicles,” said Ma. “It is too early to tell which companies have advantages.”
Nio, one of the sector’s pioneers, recently revealed that it had reached the milestone of its 100,000th vehicle rolling off the assembly line.