Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-sharing company, will form a joint venture to build its own charging network for electric cars. In an announcement today, Didi Chuxing co-founder and chief executive officer Cheng Wei said that the infrastructure will serve “families and the public” as well as vehicles on the company’s platform.
Cheng’s announcement was made during a summit on sustainable energy sponsored by the United Nations and the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO). Based in Beijing (like Didi Chuxing), GEIDCO is an international organization created to carry out the UN’s sustainable energy and climate change initiatives.
Didi Chuxing claims to operate the world’s largest fleet of electric cars. Out of the 2 million electric vehicles currently on the road, more than 260,000 are on Didi Chuxing’s platform, which has 450 million users and 21 million drivers, and includes a ride-hailing app, as well as taxi, minibus and car rental services. The company’s goal is to increase that amount to 1 million electric vehicles by 2020.
To reach that target, it recently announced a strategic partnership with NEVS, the Swedish holding company that acquired Saab’s assets in 2012 and focuses on developing electric cars. NEVS was granted approval by the Chinese government in January to build electric cars at its factory in Tianjin.
The International Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organization that promotes the use of clean energy, says about 750,000 electric vehicles were sold last year, up from 547,220 in 2015, and that China now accounts for 40% of electric vehicle sales, making it the largest electric vehicle market in the world by far.
“The future of transport is new energy vehicles, and ridesharing will be a key link in promoting new energy on the road,” said Cheng during the summit.