Ford’s Smart Mobility subsidiary is working with one of the automaker’s several partners in the Chinese market, Zotye Auto, to bring Ford Smart Mobility to the country. Ford announced this week a memorandum of understanding to establish a new, 50:50 joint venture with Zotye that will work to provide electric vehicle solutions to Chinese ride-hailing fleet operators. This is separate from Ford’s existing joint venture with Zotye, which is preparing to launch a new electric vehicle brand for the Chinese market.
Ford and Zotye’s new mobility joint venture will provide ride-hailing fleet operators and drivers leasing services, data-driven fleet management, in-vehicle digital services, connectivity, and vehicle customization.
“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,” says Ford President of Mobility Marcy Klevorn. “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 new Ford-Zotye joint venture will launch in Zhejiang province with a registered capital of US$20 million, and it will later expand to other provinces. The Chinese government is one of the more ardent supporters of EVs as it attempts to address air-quality concerns across the country, and many ride-hailing operators in China are onboard. In announcing the new joint venture, Ford cited research from Boston Consulting Group, which says that China’s “e-hailing” market could grow by 19 percent each year through 2022. The size of the country’s total fleet of ride-hailing EVs could reach up to 26 million.