Bloomberg believes China has the upper hand in electric vehicle (EV) charging station market compared to the United States, as the Asian giant has eight times the number of EV charging stations that the US has. This difference is expected to become more pronounced as China thrives in technological development, encourages carmakers to shift to EV, and attracts major energy companies to invest in clean energy.
BP and Shell are taking big steps to catch up with China’s expansion in that sector, investing in electricity technologies and gradually abandoning conventional energy.
The British multinational oil company agreed to establish a joint venture with Didi Chuxing Inc, alongside opening a trial site in Guangzhou where they installed 10 fast EV chargers.
In addition, Shell acquired two EV charging companies over the last two years. The British-Dutch oil company later managed to install the first EV charger at a regular fuel station in Tianjin.
According to a source in the EV sector, China considers increasing public and private charging stations and EV sales to 60% of total vehicle sales in China by 2035, targeting a total fleet of 162m vehicles by 2040, according to Bloomberg.
Jing Kai, deputy head of the Beijing unit at Qingdao TGOOD Electric Company, which has the biggest EV charging network in China, said charging facilities are increasing rapidly with the aim to help EV users charge their cars quickly wherever they go.
Moreover, Chinese President Xi Jinping pays great attention to the EV sector, and plans to build at least 20 industrial parks for EV and related industries by 2025.
Noteworthy, China has spent more than $30bn to support its EV sales, which accounts for more than half of the world’s EV sales.
As for the US, the EV industry moves at a slower pace, and Tesla accounts for most of the American sales in this sector. However, Bloomberg predicts Tesla’s sales to fall gradually in the coming period.
Tesla and Volkswagen are the biggest producers of EV charging units, including fast chargers. It is expected that the US will have 400,000 EV charging stations by 2025, while there will be 20m stations worldwide by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.
China alone has 466,000 public EV charging stations until the end of September, of which 54,000 stations are in Beijing, while the United States has only 60,600 stations until June, including 19,000 units in California.
World sales of electric cars are likely to rise to 56m vehicles by 2040, compared to 2m units last year. It means there is a need to increase the number of charging stations, not only to serve expansion plans, but also to persuade reluctant consumers to replace their conventional cars with electric ones, as their biggest concern is the lack of charging stations in their areas.
“It’s hard to be competitive in EV charging equipment, but we continue to invest heavily in such leading technologies, and companies that fail to do so will be phased out in the future,” said Yu Xiang, chairperson of TGOOD.
In addition, Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei said the billions of dollars that were allocated basically to reduce the prices of Monroney stickers are now partially directed to increasing the number of EV charging stations. Some local authorities also offer incentives to developers of EV charging stations with the aim of reducing charging fees for consumers.
Although the acceleration in construction of EV charging stations is important, there are fears of a bubble in China, where EV sales fell in the last 15 months.