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Chinese Uber competitor DiDi unveiled a futuristic EV made specifically for ride-sharing — see the D1

Chinese Uber competitor DiDi unveiled a futuristic EV made specifically for ride-sharing — see the D1

Didi Chuxing's D1 at the launch event in Beijing on November 16, 2020

Summary List Placement

DiDi Chuxing, a Chinese ride-hailing company and global Uber competitor, has unveiled a electric vehicle built specifically for ride-shares: the D1.

Didi partnered with BYD — the “world’s largest” electric vehicle maker, according to Didi — to create the custom sedan. Looking forward, the vehicles will be used across cities in China with the company’s leasing partners over the next several months, starting this month in Changsha, China, according to a report by Reuters.

Read more: How the coronavirus pandemic will permanently change the transportation industry, according to 23 industry leaders

The company has had a history of working with electric vehicles and catering to the ever-growing segment. DiDi has about one million electric vehicles on its platform, which means the company is the “world’s largest shared electric vehicle network,” according to DiDi. In turn, about 20% of China’s electric vehicle mileage count can be attributed to DiDi’s platform.

DiDi has also set up 20,000 EV charging stations across China, according to the company, and has teamed up with BP to create 200 charging stations in the country by the end of the year.

Read more: Vancouver has become the last big city to embrace ride-hailing. The head of Lyft in Canada explains why it’s such a huge opportunity.

Keep scrolling to see the D1:

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According to DiDi, there are three issues in the ride-hailing segment: safety, efficiency, and experience. According to the company, vehicles aren’t currently equipped with proper safety measures for ride-hailing uses, and don’t have larger “safety management and response tools.” In terms of inefficiency, vehicles also don’t currently coordinate between the car and the phone, and don’t have the energy efficiency and support that ride-share drivers may need. The final of the three points, experiences, refers to uncomfortable spaces for both the driver and the passengers. The D1 was built using information from DiDi’s over 550 million passengers and 31 million drivers that partake in up to 60 million daily trips. The company also used 10 million comments, workshops, and 10,000 survey answers from both drivers and passengers to build the final product, president of DiDi Jean Liu said in a statement in the news release announcing the D1. “During the process of countless product upgrades, we realized that we were not satisfied with the progress we made on improving user experience,” Liu said in a statement. “Therefore, we decided to focus our efforts on the vehicle itself. The D1 has a series of “ride-hailing safety innovations,” such as a Driver Monitoring System, a “smart” steering wheel with alert systems … … and artificial intelligence “voice and video monitoring and analysis” programs with facial and item recognition capabilities, according to DiDi. The D1 also comes with systems to help the drivers, such as Level Two driving assistance, pedestrian warnings, and automatic emergency brakes.

Source: DiDi

It’s also equipped with the DiDi Smart Driver, a system that communicates with the driver by using the dashboard, voice assistance, and the “smart” steering wheel. To target its specific use, the vehicle has a “ride-hailing service flow from driver verification, pickup and drop-off, to payment and customer service,” according to DiDi. Drivers also have ergonomic seats for more comfortable trips. According to a report by The Verge, the D1 will have a range of 260 miles.

Source: The Verge

The vehicles also operate under a fleet management system, as shown below. D1’s power sliding doors allow for quicker and safer passenger entry and exit, according to DiDi, therefore eliminating any swinging doors that could hit bicyclists and other people, according to the Reuters report.

Source: Reuters

Passengers also have control over different “environmental and infotainment” options via two touchscreens behind the headrest of the driver and front passenger seats. The vehicle has an exterior “avocado green” color that matches the company’s bike-shares, according to Liu at the unveiling event as reported by Reuters.

Source: Reuters

“DiDi China has been building a deeper automotive ecosystem for its core mobility service by establishing an extensive alliance with manufacturers, energy providers, and other industry players in the value chain,” the company wrote in a statement in the news release.

Source: DiDi

This includes companies like Toyota, Volkswagen, and BYD, to name a few companies, that serve a variety of purposes in the alliance.