Geely to ramp up digitalization, new energy efforts

Updated 2018-03-21 09:54:01 China Daily

Li Shufu (center), chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, answers reporters' queries before the closing meeting of the First Session of the 13th NPC on March 20, 2018.(Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily)

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group will step up its digitalization and electrification efforts as more cars will become electrified, smart mobile terminals connected to the internet, said its chairman Li Shufu on Tuesday.

Li, a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress, said studies on digitalization will prove crucial as the 21st century is an era that features technological revolution, industrial evolution and business remodeling.

"We will strive to build our strength as fast as possible in online and offline services as cars will become a smart mobile living space that highly integrates online and offline functions."

Geely, which owns Volvo and a stake in Daimler, has been at the forefront of Chinese carmakers' digitalization and connectivity drives.

The carmaker unveiled a smart onboard system called Geely User Interaction last week that it said would set new bench marks in intelligent connectivity.

The platform is designed exactly like a smartphone, something most users are familiar with, so it creates a comfortable, easy-to-use experience and changes the car into a smart mobility solution for users, said Geely.

It is the result of Geely's cooperation with partners including e-commerce giant Alibaba's mapping business unit AutoNavi and Chinese voice recognition firm iFlytek. The platform also features popular entertainment apps and even those that offer medical services.

The platform, which the carmaker said is like Siri but much smarter, can lower onboard temperature if the driver says it is hot, and even help the driver to turn on air conditioning at home.

Li said Geely will push forward electrification as it is the inevitable trend of the automotive industry.

"According to the Blue Geely Initiative, 90 percent of our cars will be new energy ones by 2020," he said.

The initiative, which was proposed in late 2015, is seen as one of the most ambitious campaigns to shift focus from conventionally powered-engines to electric cars, hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

According to Geely's plan, electric cars will account for 35 percent of its new energy car sales in 2020 while hybrids and plug-in hybrids will account for 65 percent.

Li also proposed that China step up studies on methanol fuel cell cars to help alleviate the automotive industry's reliance on conventional fuel.

China is now the world's largest new energy vehicle market, with 777,000 electric cars and plug-in hybrids sold last year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. It is estimated that at least 1 million such cars will be sold in 2018.

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