Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing has partnered with BYD to create a new electric MPV, christened ‘D1’
In recent times, the ride-hailing industry has seen a rise in popularity globally. People were increasingly choosing shared or private cab services over personal mobility in the last few years. Although that trend might have taken a southward turn this year, the ride-hailing industry is expected to grow again in the near future.
Electric mobility is the future of the automobile industry, and it makes a lot of sense to combine electric and shared mobility together. Not only are electric vehicles cleaner to run, but they have lower running costs as well, even though the initial costs may be a bit heavier. Didi Chuxing, a ride-hailing company based in China, has partnered with one of the biggest automakers in the country, BYD, to build a new electric vehicle which will be used exclusively as a cab.
This new electric MPV, named ‘D1’ will only be available for registered Didi operators; the vehicle won’t be available for private buyers. The vehicle has plenty of neat touches that make it a great people hauler, like good interior space and extra comfy driver’s seat. It gets sliding passenger doors, so the customers don’t accidentally hit any pedestrians and bicyclists with the doors.
The D1 will also offer level 2 autonomous driving tech, which includes lane-departure warning, pedestrian collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and a driver monitoring system. The last feature will check that the driver is attentive towards the road, and not feeling drowsy. There will also be a lot of convenience features on offer.
The D1 EV will offer a touchscreen infotainment system in the centre console, and two touchscreen entertainment units for the rear passengers (on behind each front headrest). The driver will get a multi-function steering wheel and a digital instrument cluster. The overall interior design is quite minimalistic yet elegant.
The powertrain consists of a 136 HP electric motor, paired to a lithium-ion battery pack that can deliver a claimed range of 260 miles (418 km). BYD and Didi had begun working on the D1 nearly two years ago, and the latter gathered data from 550 million passengers and 31 million drivers to develop the vehicle.