State Grid to Accelerate Construction of Electric Vehicle Charging Piles
State Grid Co. of China has pledged 2.7 billion yuan ($382 million) for the construction of electric vehicle (EV) battery charging piles this year, responding to a push from the central government to develop high-tech infrastructure.
The country’s largest electricity distributor announced the plan in a virtual conference on Tuesday. According to the meeting, a total of 78,000 charging piles — 10 times last year’s installation figure — will be installed in 18 provincial-level regions, with 53,000 earmarked for local residential areas and 18,000 set for public use.
Charging piles have been included within the category of “new infrastructure,” which China plans to invest in as a way to provide new momentum for economic development. The term also includes technology like 5G networks and data centers.
Other power groups have joined the high-profile investment scheme. China Southern Power Grid Co. Ltd. said on Friday that it will build 380,000 charging piles in the next four years through investment or acquisitions.
China has seen a sharp rise in installation of charging piles for its fast-growing EV market in recent years. As of 2019, the nation had built more than 510,000 public charging piles and 703,000 private ones, data from state-backed China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance (EVCIPA) shows.
Zhang Fan, director of the EVCIPA, told Caixin that the grid providers’ plans respond to calls for investment by the central government. He cautioned that companies should not rush to conduct mass construction at the moment, citing the double-whammy of a long payback period and slim profits due to low utilization, as well as dwindling EV sales since Covid-19 broke out in January.
EV sales in China slumped more than 50% in the first quarter of the year to 114,000, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
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