Employees work on a production line for charging piles in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, in June. (XIE SHANGGUO/FOR CHINA DAILY)
Global interest in homegrown charging piles for new energy vehicles has ballooned as China cements its leading position in the global NEV market with exports set to almost double this year, experts and industry executives said.
China's NEV exports are likely to hit 1.3 million units this year, according to an estimate by market research firm Canalys. NEV shipments were 679,000 units in 2022, said the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
The surging reach of Chinese EVs in overseas markets like Europe and the United States in recent years has positively influenced the perception of indigenous brands by foreign customers, especially products related to the NEV sector, said Zhang Hong, secretary-general of the China Auto Dealers Association's NEV branch.
As the NEV market in regions like Europe and the US is at an early stage of rapid growth, the construction of charging infrastructure is falling behind and cannot cater to rising demand, Zhang said.
This provides an opportunity for Chinese enterprises that produce charging piles to explore new markets, he added.
Data from the International Energy Agency showed that NEV sales in Europe increased to 2.6 million units in 2022 from 212,000 units in 2016, while the number of publicly accessible charging piles only grew from 116,100 in 2016 to 474,700, resulting in a vehicle-pile ratio of 16:1 in 2022.
The case was similar in the US as well. Its registered NEVs amounted to 2.96 million in 2022, while the number of publicly accessible charging piles came in at 128,000, or a vehicle-pile ratio of 23:1.
Anfu New Energy Technology Co Ltd, located in Yueqing, Zhejiang province, has established an extensive global marketing network to provide face-to-face solutions for clients in many countries, as its charging piles for commercial use have gained in popularity in Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa and the US.
Cheng Zifan, director of the company's international business department, said its products enable a battery to not only charge in less than 10 minutes, but also maintain a high life cycle.
Compared with charging piles for commercial use, those for residential use have relatively lower requirements for fast charging, said Li Chenghai, sales director of Wenzhou-based Huajia Electrical Equipment Co Ltd in Zhejiang.
The company's charging pile for household use, equal to the size of an electronic scale, can recharge a car in four to seven hours, Li said, adding that installation of charging piles in homes overseas will become inevitable due to its greater convenience and lower costs.
By 2025, the overall charging pile market in Europe and the US will reach a combined total of about 73.12 billion yuan ($10.1 billion), with more than three-quarters of the market share coming from private charging piles, according to an estimate by Guosen Securities.
Domestic manufacturers, with their complete supply chain and cost-effectiveness, have expanded at a faster pace in the global market, though they are facing various difficulties in sustaining sound development.
Multiple charging interfaces and standards in different regions call for local certification in the first place, said Li Yang, general manager of the charging pile division of Shenzhen-based Kstar Science &Technology Co Ltd in Guangdong province.
It usually takes at least three months to obtain certification from the European Union and about a year to receive one from the US.
The cost of such certification could be as high as 1 million yuan, which is exorbitant for many enterprises, especially smaller ones, Li said.
Moreover, after-sales services including installation, debugging and maintenance need to be optimized if companies have to secure more orders in the future, he added.