Employees work on an assembly line for charging piles at a factory in Hefei, Anhui province, in July. (RUAN XUEFENG/FOR CHINA DAILY)
Increased sales of NEVs to accelerate demand amid country's dual carbon objectives
Charging piles for electric vehicles expanded at a rapid pace in China during the first half of the year on booming demand for EVs, industry data showed.
More than 1.44 million charging piles were added from January to June, up 40.6 percent from the same period in 2022, the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance said, taking the vehicle-pile ratio to 2.6:1.
New energy vehicle sales in the country surged 44.1 percent year-on-year in the first half to nearly 3.75 million units. NEV output touched nearly 3.79 million units, rising 42.4 percent year-on-year, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed.
China's NEV sales had gone up from 1.37 million in 2020 to 6.89 million in 2022, it said.
As EV demand has undergone sustained expansion in recent years, production and sales of charging piles are expected to climb further, ushering in greater opportunities for market players, said Lin Boqiang, head of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University.
Increased sales of NEVs will boost demand for charging stations and the industry may enter an era of high growth, he said.
Charging stations have become an indispensable component for bolstering the competitiveness of NEV companies both at home and abroad, and many EV makers worldwide are already stepping up construction of charging piles.
Tesla Inc, for instance, has built more than 1,600 supercharging stations and over 10,000 supercharging piles in China, covering all provinces, Lin said.
EV startups including NIO, Li Auto and Xpeng are actively deploying charging stations to improve mileage efficiency and user experience.
Traditional oil giants, such as China National Petroleum Corp, China Petrochemical Corp and China National Offshore Oil Corp, have also entered the sector to compete for a share of this lucrative market, which will, in turn, lead to increased competition, he said.
The construction of charging infrastructure is still lagging behind sharp demand from the EV sector in China, said Essence Securities in a research note recently, adding that the current vehicle-pile ratio holds great potential for expansion.
The government should step up construction of charging stations as support infrastructure for NEVs to alleviate range anxiety among consumers, it said.
The government has steadfastly aided the development of the NEV industry in recent years, aiming to build a high-quality charging infrastructure system by 2030 to achieve the country's goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2060.
China has established the world's largest charging infrastructure system in terms of quantity and coverage area, providing strong support for the rapid development of NEVs, said the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic regulator.
The State Council, or China's Cabinet, released a document last month that detailed five major targets in building a high-quality charging infrastructure system by 2030, with extensive coverage, moderate scale, reasonable structure and perfect functions.
According to the document, efforts will be made to optimize and improve the network. Convenient and efficient intercity charging networks and interconnected charging networks in urban agglomerations will be built, especially charging infrastructure in road networks between key cities.
Efforts will also go toward enhancing the layout and construction of public charging infrastructure in rural areas, the commission said.
Local governments should accelerate the distribution and construction of public charging infrastructure in rural areas, while promoting smart charging models and intelligent technologies, it said.
The potential for growth of NEVs in rural areas is vast, surpassing that of even large cities, said Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association.
The NDRC said it would encourage NEV firms to develop economically practical vehicle models, including new energy cargo micro-vans, micro-trucks and light trucks, for the rural market.