Didi announced on March 7 they have signed a strategic cooperation agreement with BAIC Group to build new energy vehicles, which will be used to run a car rental business that Didi is preparing to launch in the first half of this year, according to the press release.

BAIC Group and Didi’s cooperation ceremony, with no stage props thankfully (Image Credit: Didi)

Didi will stack the car rental operator with intelligent car rental business management capabilities, drivers, fleet operations and management capabilities, and provide personnel training, financial solutions and other system operations programs.

At present, Didi’s “rent a car and drive for yourself  (自驾租车)” has entered the adjustment phase (Chinese source), and no car is available at the moment. The spokesperson from Didi said the new car rental service will be based on an hourly fee.

Didi’s car rental service (Image Credit: Pingwest)

On February 7, Didi announced that the company has reached a cooperation to jointly build new energy sharing car service with 12 automakers including BAIC BJEV, BYD, Chang’an Automobile Group, Chery Automobile Group, Dongfeng Passenger Vehicle, First Auto Works, Geely Auto, Hawtai Motor, JAC Motors, KIA Motors, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, and Zotye Auto.

Existing car rental platforms include Gofun, Card2go, Evcard, GreenGo, PandAuto, TOGO. This requires investing a lot of capital in the early stage, and managing high operating costs, thereby difficult to profit in a short-term. Didi has chosen a lighter model to operate the service; By diversifying the property rights, vehicles can come from car manufacturers, leasing companies and other partners.

Car rental startups price comparison (Image Credit: Pingwest)

Didi has not yet announced the details of hourly car rental fee. Recently, Shenzhou launched a car rental business with pricing of  0.19 RMB per minutes and  0.99 RMB per km. From Suzhou Bridge in Beijing to Sihui East, it is 23 km, about 40 minutes driving. To compare the price, the taxi price is RMB 69, GoFun Chery EQ price is about RMB 38.5 yuan, and Shenzhou’s price is RMB 27.4. To compete with pioneers in the car rental market, Didi would have to consider better price strategy for their car rental service, while keeping the operating cost low.

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at evayoo@technode.com

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