Several of China’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging service providers—including TGood, Star Charge, iCharge, and others—announced that they will no longer support Orange Energy, Didi Chuxing’s EV charging network, 36Kr reports.
These companies are among China’s largest EV charging operators. TGood, with over 120,000 charging stations, is the nation’s leader, and Star Charge has upwards of 30,000 stations. Orange Energy is an app layer platform for people to find EV charging stations and pay using the Didi app.
The charging companies may have new backers that have induced them to cut ties with Didi, 36Kr has learned. In December, TGood partnered with the State Grid Corporation of China and automotive conglomerate Wanbang New Energy, which owns Star Charge, and others in a joint venture with similar business ambitions as Orange Energy.
Last year, Didi invested RMB 60 million (USD 9.4 million) alongside TGood to build out EV charging and ride-hailing technology, with TGood’s parent company, Told New Energy, contributing RMB 40 million to the deal.
At the time of the deal, Didi also announced the launch of Orange Energy, an initiative to integrate China’s vehicle-charging stations with ride-sharing. Specifically, Orange Energy maps the location of EV charging stations throughout the country and let people pay for charging services directly inside Didi’s ride-hailing app.
In a statement to 36Kr, Didi said it respects but is disappointed by the decision of these companies to take their service offline vis-a-vis Didi’s network. The company also noted the early stage of development of the EV industry and welcomed more partners to come together on creating a better and more complete EV charging service.
Didi later reached out to KrASIA with another statement, saying that the recent development involves three out of over 100 of its EV recharging partners and doesn’t affect its business materially. “Today 400 thousand EVs run on Didi and we bring invaluable scale potentials to our energy partners in a network that continues to expand to serve tens of millions of Didi and non-Didi drivers and car owners,” Didi said.
Didi had over 200,000 EVs registered on its platform in January 2017 and aims to surpass over 1 million vehicles by 2020.
Editor: Nadine Freischlad
Update: The article was edited on April 2 to include Didi’s new statement.