Ford Smart Mobility and Zotye Auto today signed an agreement to establish a new 50/50 joint venture (JV) that will focus on providing smart, customized all-electric vehicle solutions to fleet operators and drivers in China’s fast-growing ride-hailing market, the companies announced.
Many operators in China’s ride-hailing market are looking to expand their fleets with electric vehicles. According to Boston Consulting Group, the local ‘e-hailing’ market is expected to grow by 19% annually through 2022, with an overall fleet size potentially reaching up to 26 million.
The new mobility JV will work closely with the Zotye-Ford manufacturing JV, which will build a range of stylish and affordable all-electric vehicles for consumers in China under a new indigenous brand, pending regulatory approval.
"As people and cities across the world increasingly adopt new mobility services, we also need to work together to ensure these services are solving key issues such as accessibility and air quality versus adding to them,” said Marcy Klevorn, executive vice president and president of mobility, Ford Motor Company. “By providing smart-enabled electric vehicles for the ride-hailing market, this new mobility joint venture will be a key part of the solution for China’s cities.”
The Zotye-Ford mobility JV will provide ride-hailing fleet operators and drivers with all-electric vehicle leasing services, data-driven fleet management solutions, in-vehicle digital services, connectivity and vehicle customization.
The new JV will be located in Zhejiang province and initially focus on the ride-hailing market in Zhejiang, with plans to soon expand to other provinces. It will have registered capital of $20 million, with each company contributing 50%.
Zotye is one of the leading brands in China’s all-electric small vehicle segment and was one of the first automakers to produce all-electric passenger vehicles in the country. The company sold around 36,000 all-electric vehicles in 2017.
As part of Ford’s commitment to building smart vehicles for a smart world, and to pave the way for a future of vehicle-to-everything communication and autonomous vehicles, the new JV will also engage with local governments and cities to support the development of integrated transportation solutions covering data connectivity and software systems to improve traffic flow, reduce congestion and enhance the commuter experience.
Ford Smart Mobility is a Ford Motor Company subsidiary formed to design, build, grow, and invest in emerging mobility services.