China is getting all the good stuff when it comes to all-electric vehicles these days.
Now, Ford is setting up a new joint-venture to sell all-electric vehicles for ride-hailing services in the country.
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Ford’s offering is extremely limited when it comes to all-electric vehicles, but it has been making a lot of announcements about them.
In the US, it should start to materialize into actual products starting in 2020 and in China, it will mean dozens of new vehicles.
Last year, they set up a new joint-venture with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co to launch a new brand for EVs in the country on top of plans to launch 15 new EVs under its own current brands in China.
Now, they are adding to those electrification plans by setting up another joint-venture with Zotye.
The new company will offer “a range of stylish and affordable all-electric vehicles under a new indigenous brand” that will be focused on “customized all-electric vehicle solutions to fleet operators and drivers in China’s fast-growing ride-hailing market.”
Fast-growing indeed. According to Boston Consulting Group, the local ride-hailing market will grow by 19 percent annually through 2022, with an overall fleet size potentially reaching up to 26 million units.
Didi, the leader in ride-hailing in China, already claims to be the ‘world’s largest EV fleet operator’ with 260,000 EVs and plans to reach a million by the end of the decade.
Ford’s new venture plans to offer “all-electric vehicle leasing services, data-driven fleet management solutions, in-vehicle digital services, connectivity and vehicle customization,” in order to help achieve that goal as well as the electrification of other ride-hailing services.
The American automaker and Zotye have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a joint venture and they will be investing US$20 million to get it started.
They haven’t released a timeline for bringing those new EVs to market.
I think using electric vehicles in ride-hailing services is a smart way to deploy more electric vehicles.
Chevy is doing this with the Bolt EV through GM’s Maven Gig service now with hundreds of Bolt EVs available for Lyft and Uber drivers in the US.
We also recently reported on Youngo, a Paris-based ride-hailing service using exclusively electric vehicles.
I think we are going to see more of these services going electric in the coming years – leading to the ‘holy grail’ of personal mobility: ride-hailing with all-electric and autonomous vehicles.
Featured Image (left to right): Chen Jing, vice president of Zotye Auto; Jin Zheyong, chairman of Zotye Auto; Marcy Klevorn, executive vice president and president of mobility, Ford Motor Company; Peter Fleet, Ford group vice president and president, Ford Asia Pacific.