Riding the energy transition, the EV charging market is booming
As the penetration rate of new energy vehicles continues to climb, coupled with the favorable policy, the construction of charging piles as supporting infrastructure enters an accelerated period, and the market space for charging operation services is further opened.
According to China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance (EVCIPA), as of January 2023, the cumulative number of charging infrastructure nationwide was 5.411 million units, of which 1.839 million units were held by public charging piles, an increase of 56.1% year-on-year. From February 2022 to January 2023, the average monthly number of new public charging piles is about 55,000 units.
By 2030, the number of domestic new energy vehicles is expected to reach 80 million, which requires at least 20 million charging piles.
Why has China been able to build out a new grid of EV chargers so quickly?
The answer can be traced back over a decade to China's grand aim of making the country the center of the international electric vehicle revolution. Although the electric vehicle sector was still in its infancy, the government launched subsidized sales in 2010. The State Council published a broad plan in 2015 with the goal of constructing charging infrastructure to support 5 million electric vehicles by 2020.
Although a large number of public charging stations are being built, the pace of construction is not keeping up with sales. Based on IEA data from 2021, China had one public charger for every seven electric vehicles, a relatively higher ratio than that of the United States. However, there is always a question of keeping up with demand.
Along with that, China's charging service market is also facing the sore points of extreme fragmentation, the low utilization rate of charging facilities, difficulties in the profitability of operators, poor charging experience of customers, and low intelligence use in the operation and maintenance of charging stations.
The issue of charging infrastructure is also one of the key concerns of officials and delegates at this year's annual two sessions meetings.
Liu Yong, a deputy to the National People's Congress and manager of State Grid Jiangxi Power Co LTD, said there is a lack of planning for the layout of charging facilities in some areas.
To address this, Liu suggested accelerating the improvement of infrastructure construction planning for new energy vehicles, including constructing charging facilities in urban and rural areas and improving scientific layout. Local governments should issue rules for implementing the construction of charging facilities in residential areas to ensure parking lots in newly built residential areas are built with charging piles or reserved for installation.
Meanwhile, Yin Tongyue, a deputy to the National People's Congress, and chairman of Chery Holding Group believes that the different charging standards of electric vehicles from home and abroad affects the export of electric vehicles. For enterprises, the charging pile industry and third parties involved in the construction and operation of charging facilities, different standards and schemes will inevitably lead to a huge waste of resources.
To solve these problems, we need not only the continuous support of national policies but also the continuous development of the scientific and technological level of the NEV and charging pile industry, and, most of all, the enhancement of social responsibility.
As one of the main carbon emitters in China, the reduction of fossil energy in stock and the replacement of incremental new energy is inevitable for carbon emission reduction in transportation. Attitudes toward sustainability are maturing by the day, and manufacturers are now leading the way to sustainable change. The challenge lies in getting the entire supply chain – including manufacturers, third-party suppliers, and also downstream users – on the same page.