Ford Smart Mobility, a Palo Alto-based subsidiary of Dearborn’s Ford Motor Co., today announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s Zotye Auto to establish a joint venture focused on providing smart, customized all-electric vehicle solutions to fleet operators and drivers in China’s ride-hailing market. Ford Smart Mobility is designed to build, grow, and invest in emerging mobility services.
The new joint venture will work with the Zotye-Ford manufacturing joint venture to build a range of 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,” says Marcy Klevorn, executive vice president and president of mobility at Ford Motor Co. “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 joint venture 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 venture will be located in Zhejiang province and initially focus on the ride-hailing market there. It will have registered capital of $20 million, and each company will contribute half of the startup investment.
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. It sold about 36,000 all-electric vehicles in 2017.
“We are delighted to have signed this MOU today to develop smart mobility solutions for cities in China,” says Ying Jianren, board director of Zotye Auto and chairman of Tech-New Group Ltd. “This underlines the strength of the relationship between Zotye and Ford, and we look forward to working even closer in the future to provide EV fleet management support for ride-hailing services through this JV.”
The joint venture 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.
“Last year, our two companies agreed to explore mobility services together to solve emerging transportation challenges for Chinese customers,” said Peter Fleet, Ford group vice president and president, Ford Asia Pacific. “With today’s announcement, this takes us one step further to offering smart services, connected electric vehicles and data-driven solutions to make China’s urban centers cleaner and journeys more efficient and enjoyable.”