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Ambitious Geely heads into ride hailing

Power up: Geely’s Emgrand EV is the car of choice for the all-electric CaoCao ride hailing service in China.

CaoCao trademark registration reveals Geely’s ambition for EV Uber rival

15 Feb 2018

CHINA’S biggest privately owned car-maker, Geely Automobile, appears to have ambitions to take its all-electric ride-hailing operation, CaoCao, to the world, including Australia.

Not content with buying up a string of western motor manufacturers, including Volvo Cars, London Taxi, Lotus Cars, Proton, truck-maker Volvo AB and, most recently, a chunk of Daimler, Geely’s billionaire founder Li Shufu has turned CaoCao into China’s biggest electric ride-sharing and car rental company in just one year.

CaoCao – named after a warlord in ancient China – reportedly has 12,000 Geely electric vehicles on its fleet, covering 17 of China’s biggest cities. So far, 10 million users have reportedly used the CaoCao ride-hailing app.

In Australia, Geely Holding Group has applied for trademark registration for CaoCao. The application is pending, with a decision imminent.

The company has also registered Lynk & Co, the name of Geely’s upmarket car brand that most pundits expect Geely will use to take its home-grown products into western markets, alongside Volvo, Lotus and Proton.

Unlike Uber, CaoCao exclusively uses one brand of vehicle – Geely – and one model – the mid-sized Emgrand EV sedan, which is an electric conversion of its top-selling Emgrand 7 sedan.

Powered by a 41kWh battery that can propel the car a claimed 300km on a single charge, the Emgrand EV was launched in 2017. Geely claims the battery can be 80 per cent charged in 48 minutes on a quick charger, or seven hours on a home socket.

The single 95kW/240Nm electric motor pushes the car from zero to 100km/h in 9.9 seconds.

Geely’s move into ride-hailing in China will help it to achieve increasingly stringent new government requirements for all motor manufacturers to sell at least 10 per cent electric vehicles by next year, and 12 per cent by 2020 and 20 per cent by 2025.

The rules – announced in September – are not only designed to counter shocking air pollution over Chinese cities and stem CO2 emission, but to also set China up as a world leader in electric car design and production.

Last year, Chinese motorists bought a record 605,500 plug-in passenger vehicles, along with a further 198,000 commercial vehicles.

This dwarfs the EV take up of other countries, with China now accounting for 49 per cent of the world’s EV passenger car volume.

Apart from electric propulsion, CaoCao says it is keen on pursuing autonomous driving technologies from Geely subsidiary Volvo to guide its cars most efficiently through mega cities.

It also has its eye on another Geely subsidiary, Terrafugia, a United States-based flying car start up that promises to have its products taking off from 2019.

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