Alibaba Cloud Innovation Center has introduced a new column, Discover the Rising Stars, to shed light on the backgrounds of entrepreneurs and company innovations. Through interviews, live streams, and other media approaches, we will deliver valuable news stories from multiple perspectives and dimensions, to offer you the real voices of entrepreneurs and to witness the power of technological innovations.
The automobile industry is moving towards an electric-powered, car-sharing, service-innovating, and network-building future. Electric cars, car batteries, and the charging network are the three main elements in promoting new energy vehicles. As more and more new energy vehicles get on the road, the charging issue becomes the owners’ most pressing concern.
The fourth issue of Discover the Rising Stars interviewed the 2021 CACSC & BMW Group “Internet of Vehicles” Global Finals’ winner team, Ohway’s founder Wang Ying, and talked about how Ohways overcame challenges in the charging industry.
The emergence of new energy vehicles transformed the hundred-year-old traditional automobile industry. Consumers are increasingly more aware and accepting of new energy vehicles because of their low emission values. For the first time, ‘emission peak’ and ‘carbon neutrality’ are written into governmental reports, which will speed up the development of the new energy industry. In 2020, the production and sale of new energy vehicles saw a year-on-year increase of 7.5% (1.366 million) and 10.9% (1.367 million) respectively, reaching record highs.
The fast development of new energy car industry also brought pain points as a byproduct
Wang Ying graduated from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications with a master’s degree in Human-Machine Interaction. With 13 years of experience in internet product operation and management and the title of RTMAP’s founder and Alibaba AutoNavi’s Product Director under her belt, Wang Ying founded Ohways. Her rich industry experience provided a solid foundation for her to build her entrepreneurial endeavor on.
Wang Ying said, “In 2014, new energy vehicles are just kicking off in China. Back then, infrastructure and services for these car owners are rather poor. Charging point numbers did not reach the national target, and the building of these charging stations was not fast enough for how fast these cars were selling. On top of this, different service providers did not connect and talk with each other well enough. New energy vehicle owners did not have a one-stop service for their ‘charge and go’ experience. Ohways’ long-term research aimed to solve these problems and allow new energy vehicles to travel smoothly.”
In the early days of new energy vehicles development, there were just over 30,000 charging points in China; these are mainly based in well-off cities and areas. Car owners had “long mileage anxiety” because one charge only lasts over 200kms. Today, there are 1.322 million charging points, with the ratio of car-to-points being 3:1. However, car owners still faced several other difficulties: too many charging platforms and they are too dispersed, charging station and charging point’s information collections or updates are not up to speed, fuel-powered cars taking up parking space. New energy car owners’ “long mileage anxiety” changed to “charging anxiety”.
Increase consumer confidence in new energy industry by providing better services
By integrating charging services and different charging station/point brands in the market onto Ohways’ platform, new energy vehicle owners can check live updated information about these brands and their charging stations on the app of the car company or a travel agent. This information includes location, number, charging power, price, availability, parking fee, and other data that users are most interested in and match the user with the most suitable charging solution. Once the user arrives at the charging station, they can use the app to scan a QR code to enjoy a one-stop experience of charge, pay, and go. Ohways also analyzes users’ past habits and station live updates to provide more tailored charging solutions to achieve the best plan for the user’s travel.
Ohways now covers mainstream charging services, including public and private charging stations, brand-exclusive charging stations, mobile charging, and charge for hire. Close partnerships with industry-leading CPOs made sure Ohways now covers over 95% of public charging resources, and works with 70,000+ charging stations, 270,000+ charging points, and 660,000+ stationary charging points. Ohways’ ability to guide the user to charging services is navigation level and at the forefront of the industry. Wang Ying said, “It is not difficult to find a charging point. What’s difficult is to allow users to travel with peace of mind.”
Building on one-stop charging services, Ohways also provides a fully operational support process for enterprise users by integrating third-party offers to create resource bundles. Enterprises can enjoy a multi-dimensional experience that includes software and hardware one-click purchase, building charging station network, platform operation and management, and brand integration marketing. New energy vehicle owners, car companies, and the travel platform can build a higher level of viscosity with each other.
Ohways now works with more than a dozen internationally renowned companies (BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Ford, SAIC, and Maserati, among others), China Academy of Urban Planning and Design, and other well-known companies. Ohways has always been committed to seamlessly connecting charging and traveling for new energy vehicles while integrating innovative services.
“More and more new energy vehicles can travel more than 500kms with one charge, making suburb and intercity travel possible. Ohways’ brand mission and responsibility have always been helping car owners find suitable charging points when they need one. We want to provide the car owners with a multi-brand integrated charging service, fast charging, intelligent charging plan recommendation, long-mileage worries-free products and services to increase charging success rate and charging safety. The service we provide supports the new energy industry from the sideline and increases consumer confidence in new energy vehicles.” Wang Ying said.
Experienced professionals teamed up to help Ohways reach industry TOP 1 status
Ohways was established in 2019. Although this is a relatively young company, the Ohways team has plenty of industry experience under their belt. Wang Ying commented that “our brand mission and our goal were quite clear from the start: improve new energy users’ travel experience. Our team culture is quite open to product innovation. Core team members are experienced professionals from industries of travel, navigation, connected vehicles, charging, and internet big data.”
An energetic team, a group of people sharing the same aspiration, is the excellent foundation for Ohways to expand and grow to be an industry leader. “Our team was always exploring possibilities at the early days of the industry. We kept trying new partnership models with other businesses. This was extremely challenging for a start-up with limited resources. But we persevered in the hope that we can create greater value for our users.” Wang Ying explained.
As new energy vehicle ownership is growing, charging service is growing too. With the number of charges becoming more extensive and more frequent, the big data collected will resolve most of the problems encountered in charging operation and management. After the fast and aggressive expansion of charging points during the early stage, where is the charging marketing heading? How do we operate, manage, protect, and maintain so many charging points? With battery technology advances every day and mileage with one charge continues to increase, how do operators face the new problems? We are all looking to Ohways for answers to these questions.
Meeting with old friend Alibaba Cloud, Ohways embraced the opportunity of CACSC
“We have a history with Alibaba Cloud. I used to be the Product Director for Alibaba Autonavi, so I am not a stranger to Alibaba Cloud. Our marketing team suggested that we enroll in the CACSC. We really would like such an opportunity for us to try our hands and practice. Through platforms such as CACSC, we can gain a deeper knowledge of the intelligent travel industry and get the opportunity to learn and communicate with other brilliant start-up teams in the industry. Alibaba Cloud Innovation Center was able to get so many innovative companies to come together and increase the velocity level between upstream and downstream companies and provided everyone with the chance to build deeper partnerships. This is a great driving force for the industry development, and it provides many possibilities.” Wang Ying explained.
With policy support and the social environment at large, new energy vehicles have long become the automobile industry’s direction forward. Car owners have many options to choose from. Ohways moves on from providing only charging services to offering an improved travel service experience and fine-tuned IT application. One of the key strategies for Ohways would be to expand horizontally into more related services. We wish to see Ohways and the new energy industry grow together with great speed and stability in the future.