The Chinese government has proposed an ambitious plan to improve the country’s EV charging infrastructure. The new strategy, announced in September by the State Council, envisions a charging infrastructure capable of supporting up to 5 million EVs by 2020.
Market analysis firm CCM estimates that the program, which calls for 12,000 public charging stations and 4.5 million charging points, will require an investment of up to 120 billion renminbi ($19 billion), and calls it a “game-changer” for the country’s EV market.
China’s EV fleet is growing quickly – 123,500 units were produced in the first 8 months of 2015, according to think tank ChinaEV100. However, that figure sounds less impressive compared to the 15.5 million total vehicles produced during the same period. A lack of charging infrastructure is often cited as a major roadblock to faster growth.
“China’s willingness to pour money into the EV market has never been in doubt – what is new is that the government is approaching things more systematically, and making sure that the money is being spent more efficiently,” said Stanley Wang, Editor of China Li-ion Battery E-News. “Until recently, support was provided mainly through subsidies to make EVs more price-competitive, but not enough attention was paid to other barriers such as the chronic lack of charging infrastructure, and policies were often uncoordinated, meaning that the infrastructure that was installed was incompatible with many vehicles. But we have seen real progress in recent weeks, and the government now appears to be on the right track.”
In recent weeks, Beijing has announced several other EV-friendly measures – legislation aimed at standardizing charging and battery-swap stations is now in effect, and new universal standards for charging points are are expected to be published in early 2016.
The State Council has also called for measures to lower entry barriers to the charging infrastructure market, to encourage private capital, and to allow private companies to collect fees for charging.
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Image: Nicolas Raymond (CC BY 2.0)