China’s Guangdong province has more EV chargers than entire US

GUANGZHOU — Range anxiety is a thing of the past for electric vehicle (EV) owners in China’s Guangdong province.

The coastal region bordering Hong Kong has built hundreds of thousands of public charging points – the equivalent of fuel pumps for electric vehicles – in recent years.

With 345,126 public chargers and 19,116 charging stations at the end of September, Guangdong has the largest electric vehicle charging network in China, more than doubling year-on-year, according to the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance. According to BloombergNEF data, that’s about three times the number of public charging stations in the entire United States.

To electrify their countries’ vehicle fleets, governments around the world are trying to roll out and scale their public charging infrastructure fast enough to service new battery-powered cars. President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Act earmarks $5 billion (S$7 billion) to build a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations along key travel corridors in the United States, while Germany will spend $6.4 billion to support the charging industry or has agreed.

But both the US and Europe have fallen far behind China in building their networks. A BloombergNEF analysis counted 112,900 public chargers in the US and 442,000 in Europe by the end of 2021, compared to 1.15 million in China.

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This gap is widening. In the last 12 months alone, China added 592,000 public chargers — more than the total the Biden administration is targeting by 2030. The Chinese government plans to build enough charging stations for 20 million electric vehicles by 2025, according to a January document from the National Development and Reform Commission and nine other ministries.

These charging poles will be installed by third-party contractors, state-owned electricity companies – the two largest of which are State Grid Corp of China and China Southern Power Grid – and electric vehicle manufacturers such as Tesla and China’s Nio and Xpeng.

Tesla operates more than 8,700 Supercharger booths in 370 cities in China — about a quarter of its global Supercharger network.

China’s green infrastructure efforts are paying off. Domestic demand for cleaner cars is now dramatically dwarfing that in Europe and the US. A quarter of all new cars bought in China are new energy vehicles, and these sales are forecast to hit a record six million this year.

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In Guangdong, ubiquitous charging is also encouraging electric car ownership. Electric vehicle sales rose 151 percent in the first half of the year, according to the Guangdong Bureau of Statistics. According to the National Monitoring and Management Platform for New Energy Vehicles, the province now has more than 1.4 million electric vehicles, the highest percentage in the country.

“With more chargers, there is less range anxiety. Electric vehicle sales are therefore increasing,” said Mr. David Zhang, an automotive analyst who is also the dean of Jiangxi New Energy Technology Institute. “Having so many chargers is definitely a breakthrough, but we have to remember that charging still takes a lot longer than filling up the gas tank. That is now the real obstacle.”

The Guangdong provincial government is also stepping up production of electric vehicles. Every eighth electric car sold in China is now manufactured in Guangdong. From January to July, local EV production more than doubled year-on-year. Strong production capacity can have a spillover effect, improve customer experience and after-sales service, and even lower prices within the province, Mr. Zhang said.

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Ms. Yoyo Gu, a 40-year-old housewife from Guangdong, swapped her Dongfeng Citroen C4 internal combustion engine sedan for a GAC ​​AION V Plus electric sports utility vehicle earlier this year as part of a provincial subsidy program to encourage electric vehicle adoption.

“I deducted about 8,000 yuan (S$1,560) from the bill,” Ms. Gu said. Add to that the EV purchase tax exemption, which the government has extended until the end of 2023.

For the first few months, she charged her SUV overnight at public charging stations in her neighborhood before finally installing a private charging station in the parking lot of her condominium.

“When my friends talk about buying an electric car, no one thinks about charging anymore,” Ms. Gu said. “The parking lot under our apartment has added five new chargers in the last few months and we can easily find one on the street.” BLOOMBERG


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