BP, Didi Chuxing Bet on EV Charging in China

The two giants have partnered in a joint venture to increase their share of China’s electric vehicle market.

Author: Belinda Zhou   

BP p.l.c. (NYSE: BP) and Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Ltd. announced today they have joined forces to build electric vehicle charging hubs in China in a new joint venture.

The new entity will develop standalone charging hubs to supply Didi Chuxing's drivers, as well as the public, with EV charging, aiming to become the leading EV charging provider in China, according to BP's statement.

The British gas, oil and energy supermajor has already linked a pilot site in Guangzhou with 10 fast-charging units, ranging from 60kW to 120kW with Didi Chuxing's open automobile solutions platform, Xiaoju Automobile Solutions. Xiaoju, which was upgraded on July 8 to expand into car care and energy with car rental as its focus, contributed to the testing of the new charging site, as reported by China Business Network.

Didi Chuxing has 550 million users and 600,000 EVs in China, according to BP's release today.

"As the world's largest electric vehicle market, China offers extraordinary opportunities to develop innovative new businesses at scale and we see this as the perfect partnership for such a fast-evolving environment," Tufan Erginbilgic, BP's chief executive, said in the company's statement.

BP has acquired BP Chargemaster, the UK's leading electric vehicle charging company, in 2018 and has invested in innovative fast-charging battery technology firm StoreDot in addition to its conventional business worldwide, according to its official website.

In China, BP invested $10 million last year in Nio Capital, a private equity fund co-sponsored by electric vehicle maker Nio Inc. (NYSE: NIO) for China's new energy vehicle ecosystem, and in January backed a hardware and software solutions provider for EVs, PowerShare.

"China offers tremendous growth opportunities for BP. Partnering with Didi Chuxing enables BP to actively contribute to China's fast-growing EV charging market with differentiated offers, and also to further expand our business footprint in the country," Xiaoping Yang, the president of BP China, added in the statement today.

Wei Cheng, the chief executive officer of Didi Chuxing, disclosed its new energy layout back in 2017 in his speech to the United Nations. He said the company expected to launch more than 1 million electrical vehicles by 2020.

Earlier this year, Chinese EV maker Kandi Technologies Group Inc. (Nasdaq: KNDI) said its joint venture with Geely Group Ltd., Kandi Electric Vehicles Group Co. Ltd., will supply Didi with electric cars for ride-sharing. On its part, Didi will promote Kandi's EV models, as well as provide leasing-related platform resources.