China witnesses surging demand in roadside assistance due to exploding vehicle population

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By Han Xin, People’s Daily
China is seeing a rising demand for roadside assistance as the country’s motor vehicle population expands rapidly, hitting 297 million by September this year.
According to statistics, a total of 92.4 million events of roadside assistance were handled across the country last year, and over 200,000 people are currently working in the industry.
Yang Zhi is a roadside service specialist of Chinese electric carmaker Nio. At 9 pm one day, he received an assistance order from a Nio user on his mobile phone. After confirming the location and demand of the user, Yang went for him on a roadside assistance vehicle.
Unlike traditional roadside assistance events, which often happen on expressways, this time, the vehicle needing assistance was in an underground parking lot of an office building.
“The owner of the vehicle said he’d have a long trip by the vehicle tomorrow, but he had no time to charge it. So he invited us to help him, and the whole assistance must be completed within two hours,” Yang said.
After arriving at the designated location, he inspected both the exterior and interior of the vehicle and then uploaded a video of the inspection. Simultaneously, the inspection system, based on the battery life and available charging facilities near the location, generated an optimal solution – battery swapping and then charging.
Yang looked at his watch after completing all operations and commented, “We’re half an hour earlier.”
A moment later, Yang’s mobile phone rang. “A user’s power battery got only 10 percent left, and he’s stuck. We must go to him with our mobile charging vehicle,” Yang said.
After a dozen minutes’ drive, Yang pulled over in front of the vehicle that needed assistance. He opened the tailgate of his charging vehicle, and two fully charged battery packs were inside.
“They look clumsy, but they charge faster than fixed charging poles,” Yang explained, plugging a cable into the charge point, and soon the user’s vehicle “revived.”
“To help the users overcome their range anxiety is also a kind of assistance, and we’ll reach them wherever they are as long as they need us,” Yang told People’s Daily. The man traveled over 3,000 kilometers during this year’s National Day holiday to offer roadside services for Nio users. “I finished over a dozen orders one day, and there was no time left for me to sleep,” he said.
“I’ve visited almost all tourist sites around Beijing since I started working two years ago,” Yang told People’s Daily.
“Look, though I need only a phone, a toolbox, and a working suit for my profession, it’s never simple. All devices are digital. If you are blind to coding, you’ll never get the hang of it. The operation also has standards, and even the torques are set when you turn the screws,” he said.

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