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China Races Ahead of U.S. in Deployment of Electric-Vehicle Charging Stations

By Bloomberg / Oct 16, 2019 10:16 AM / Environment

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

(Bloomberg) — There are almost as many places to charge your electric vehicle in Beijing as there are in the entire United States.

China, the world’s biggest market for EVs, has about eight public chargers for each one in the U.S., according to the latest counts. That imbalance likely will become more pronounced as China champions the technology spurring automakers to pivot away from gas guzzlers and accelerates its rollout of electric pumps, enlisting energy giants Royal Dutch Shell and BP along the way.

A new-energy vehicle development plan under consideration by Chinese officials and intended to shape the sector through 2035 will set new goals for boosting the number of public and private chargers, a person familiar with the proposal said in September. The nation is said to be weighing a target for 60% of all automobiles sold to run on electric motors by then.

All told, China’s electric fleet may swell to 162 million vehicles by 2040, according to forecasts by BloombergNEF.

“The availability of charging facilities has been rising pretty quickly,” said Jing Kai, deputy head of the Beijing unit at Qingdao TGOOD Electric, which has the country’s largest network of charging plugs. “The goal is to help EV users charge their cars wherever they go, making it as easy as buying a bottle of water.”

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which oversees policy making for the auto sector, didn’t immediately respond to a faxed query.

EVs are essential to President Xi Jinping’s blueprint for creating a manufacturing superpower by 2025. The nation is building at least 20 “EV towns” for carmakers and ancillary industries, and it spent more than $30 billion subsidizing EV sales. China accounts for more than half of global EV sales.

U.S. automakers are moving at a slower pace, with Tesla Inc. generating most EV sales. The U.S. subsidizes some purchases, yet those benefits phase out, and BNEF forecasts sales will slump this year.

China had 466,101 public charging points by the end of last month, according to the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance. That includes more than 54,000 in Beijing alone.

By comparison, there were 60,652 electric nozzles in the U.S. as of June 25, according to BNEF. California has the most of any state with 19,000 — or about the same amount China adds in an average month.

Contact editor Matthew Walsh (matthewwalsh@caixin.com)

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