Brazilian ride-hailing app 99 to test electric car with China’s BYD

SAO PAULO, July 12 (Reuters) – Brazilian ride-hailing app 99 said on Tuesday it had signed a partnership with Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD (002594.SZ) to start testing an electric car developed for the app’s drivers.

The tests of the vehicle, which was developed by BYD and China’s Didi Chuxing, will begin this week in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s financial capital, with a goal of accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles in 99’s fleet.

The company, Uber’s biggest rival (UBER.N) in Brazil and a subsidiary of Didi, plans to have more than 300 electric cars in its fleet by the end of this year.

With more than 750,000 monthly active drivers in Brazil and over 20 million users, 99 has committed to have 10,000 electric cars registered on its platform by 2025.

BYD is the largest electric vehicle manufacturer in the world in unit sales and an important partner of Didi in China, which already has more than 1 million electric and hybrid vehicles registered on its platform in the Asian country.

Thiago Hipolito, 99’s director of innovation, said 99 wants to replicate this idea in Brazil.

“What we have seen is that the massive adoption of the electric car in China has passed through the application driver and this has generated a natural demand for infrastructure” to support these vehicles, such as battery charging stations, he said.

Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr.; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Paul Simao