China’s EV charging infrastructure continue to lag EV development

minutes 2019/05/23 04:33:35
electric vehicles charging; gas stations charging

May 23, 2019 (China Knowledge) - Despite China’s lead in the electric vehicle (EV) market, the country’s supporting infrastructure for such vehicles has still lagged behind, with high costs, low usage rates and a lack of national safety standards all posing as stumbling blocks.

Currently, only 50 out of the 100,000 gas stations in the country have EV charging facilities while other public charging points have only seen minimal usage. Last year, China had over 800,000 charging points in the country, with more than half of these points being owned by individual car owners instead of being public.

Public charging points are also being used at a rate far below that of the 30% utilization rate these charging points need to be profitable. While energy giants such as state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), Royal Dutch Shell and BP have expressed interest in building a nationwide charging network in China, these plans have remained mired in their initial stages with the development of a viable business model remaining as a major challenge.

Some challenges include the current location of gas stations which were built independently from regional grids more than a decade ago making it difficult for gas stations to be connected to the state grid. In addition, these charging points may not be close to where demand is the highest resulting in high upfront investment costs but low utilization rates, discouraging development.

Lastly, there is still a lack of unified safety standards for developing charging stations at gas stations. Neither the fire authorities, the national grid nor other electricity-related groups have come up with any clear standards for development with local governments taking differing attitudes towards such developments, slowing down any potential development.

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