China's State Grid plans to establish an electric vehicle (EV) network of 120,000 public charging piles for electric cars by 2020.
The network will cover the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei-Shandong and Yangtze River Delta cities, and major cities in other regions, the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) said Monday.
In 2017, the State Grid EV Service Company installed charging piles in 10,000 parking spots in some old residential communities in Beijing and Shanghai, according to Jiang Bing, chairman of the company.
"Starting 2020, electric cars are likely to go beyond their nature as vehicles, and become a basic unit of the energy system," said Jiang.
SGCC aims to make intercity travel smoother for electric vehicles in China, with 3 million charging piles connected to its intelligent-vehicle online platform, according Jiang.
The online platform is connected with 19 pile operators, including China Southern Power Grid, Qingdao Teld New Energy, China Potevio, Star Charge and Shenzhen Clou Electronics, with 170,000 charging piles connected and over 800,000 users, he said.
According to Jiang, such a platform explores the energy storage value of electric cars by enabling them to be charged at the proper time and location, and will promote green development with smarter and safer power grid.
China has the world's largest new energy auto industry. The country sold more than 490,000 new energy cars in the first 11 months of 2017, and the sales are expected to exceed 577,000 units in the whole year, according to statistics by EV-Volumes, an electric vehicle sales database.