NEVS partners with Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Huaxing, Beijing tech firm

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NEVS 9-3 concept, 2017 CES Asia

NEVS 9-3 concept, 2017 CES Asia

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Chinese-backed, Swedish-based NEVS has forged two new alliances as it prepares to start production of electric cars based on former Saab platforms.

NEVS’s goal is to become an electric car company and provider of mobility services. One of NEVS’s future mobility services is likely to be intertwined with ride-sharing, as the electric car startup in June signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Didi Huaxing.

No details on the collaboration between Didi and NEVS have been revealed as the two parties don’t expect to have a binding agreement until the fall. In a statement, NEVS said Didi will be a major partner.

Didi, which counts tech giants Apple, Alibaba and Tencent as major investors, is considered the Uber of China. Didi is also closely linked with Uber. The Chinese ride-sharing giant acquired Uber’s Chinese operation in 2016 after the American firm pulled out of the market in 2016.

Expect NEVS to initially offer electric cars for a ride-sharing fleet. Eventually, the fleet may be made up of self-driving cars which NEVS is hoping to develop.

Separately, NEVS on Wednesday said it has a new partner for its Chinese joint venture that will be responsible for producing cars in the Chinese port city of Tianjin. The new partner is technology investment firm Beijing Zhenghuon Technology which just bought a stake worth $108 million in the joint venture.

“This is really good news for NEVS,” CFO Jörgen Scribe said in a statement. “This means we get new money and that we get an active owner in our JV.”

Scribe added that Beijing Zhenghuon Technology has “a lot of competence” with banks and firms looking to invest in new technologies. This is important as NEVS is developing not only new cars but also new machinery and plants.

NEVS is the company that bought the assets of Saab following the Swedish firm’s bankruptcy in late 2011. NEVS’s original plan was to revive Saab, but after running into its own financial difficulties and losing the rights to the Saab name, NEVS formed its own brand and started focusing on electric cars and mobility. NEVS is hoping to start production of the 9-3 electric sedan in 2018.

 
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