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Charging pile industry: change can mature
Oct 16, 2018

Recently, China Charging Union released the latest statistics. As of June this year, its member units reported a total of 271,751 public charging piles, including 119,445 AC charging piles, 87,956 DC charging piles, and 64,350 AC and DC charging piles.  It is worthy of recognition that China's charging infrastructure construction has made breakthroughs, and the number of charging piles ranks first in the world.




At this stage, the development of the charging pile industry is inseparable from the policy promotion.  According to the "Guidelines for the Development of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure (2015-2020)" jointly issued by the four ministries and commissions of the country, by 2020, China will build more than 12,000 charging and replacement piles and 4.8 million decentralized charging piles to meet 500. The charging needs of 10,000 electric vehicles.


However, this year has already passed more than half of the time, and only about two years left until the target is reached.  According to the current propulsion speed calculation, is there any difficulty in realizing the goal of charging the electric vehicle in China? What problems need to be solved?


Difficulties in charging still exist


“As of the end of last year, the number of charging piles nationwide reached 450,000, a year-on-year increase of 51%, but it is still far from meeting the demand for electric vehicle charging. Although the driving range of vehicles has increased, the problems in the charging process have been alleviated, but overall The situation has not changed fundamentally, and the phenomenon of charging difficulties is still outstanding.” At the recent 2018 (3rd) China Charging Pile Innovation Summit, the former inspector of the Information Center of the National Energy Administration and the Chairman of the Energy Investment Professional Committee of the China Investment Association Sun Yao Only said.


Huang Wei, director of the electrical system room of the China Automobile Center Laboratory, also believes that although the development speed of China's charging facilities has been very fast, there is still a big gap from the 2020 goal, and this gap will not be quickly added.

“Unlike new energy vehicles, the current construction of charging infrastructure is far from the vision proposed in the policy plan.” Tian Zepu, senior researcher at CCID Consulting Automotive Industry Research Center, said that the current construction of private charging piles has reduced the total construction volume. .


On the one hand, policy planning emphasizes the construction of private charging piles; on the other hand, according to the China New Energy Vehicle Satisfaction Report released by CCID Brand Lab, nearly 70% of private car owners are still buying because of license issues and from car insurance. According to the data, the promotion of new energy vehicles is concentrated in first- and second-tier cities, and private parking spaces are tight, which also limits the construction of private charging piles.


In order to speed up the construction of charging infrastructure, on March 7 this year, the "Guidelines for Energy Work in 2018" issued by the National Energy Administration clearly stated: "In 2018, the construction of charging piles will be actively promoted, the standard of charging facilities for electric vehicles will be unified, and the charging of electric vehicles will be optimized. The layout of facilities construction, the construction of a moderately advanced, car-pile, intelligent and efficient charging infrastructure system. It is planned to build 600,000 charging piles during the year, including 100,000 public charging piles and 500,000 private charging piles."


However, the difficulty of charging is not only manifested in the insufficient number of charging piles, the utilization rate is low, the layout is not balanced, and the position is not matched, etc., which is also a problem to be solved.  Statistics show that the current use rate of electric charging piles for electric vehicles in China is less than 15%.  Song Xianzhu, secretary of the Party Committee and vice president of the CCID Research Institute of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said that the charging infrastructure is difficult to advance, and there are still many phenomena such as no cars, no piles and no cars.  The task of improving the charging infrastructure system and promoting the sustainable and healthy development of the charging system cannot be ignored.

“It is necessary to build a smart and efficient charging infrastructure system, use technology to achieve large-scale deployment management, combine charging piles and more applications, and provide users with more convenience and diversification in practical operations such as communication and sharing. Charging service," he said.


Charging user experience needs improvement


In China, the construction of charging piles has made outstanding progress. However, it cannot be ignored that there are still many problems in the practical application of charging piles put into operation on the market. For example, charging equipment is susceptible to environmental interference, and the quality of charging piles is uneven. The method is complicated, and the payment interconnection is insufficient.

Last year, in order to investigate the problem of matching piles, the China Automobile Center organized 12 car companies and charging operators in 13 cities, and conducted more than 200 tests on 27 pure electric passenger cars of 19 models.


According to Huang Wei, the user experience problems they found include: the charging pile voltage harmonics are severe and unstable; in residential areas, the surrounding environment is greatly affected. For example, if the AC charging pile is installed near the elevator, the charging pile is used when the elevator is lifted. It is disturbed; there are few charging piles in the underground parking space, the network signal is weak, and the pile-seeking is difficult; some charging piles are not open to the public, although they are displayed in the APP.


In addition, the problems affecting the user experience include: the vehicle's gun seat is not too high, or too tight or too loose, resulting in abnormal charging; the charging and starting process is cumbersome, some companies have barriers in payment, not yet fully realized Interconnection; there are still a large number of non-mainstream car piles on the market, the development process is not rigorous, the product quality can not be guaranteed, and there are big problems in safety and supervision.

Regarding how to improve the user experience, Huang Wei introduced the development trend of the industry: "At present, the focus of domestic enterprises is basically on improving the charging rate, and strives to develop into high-power charging. In the passenger vehicle field by 2025, it is possible to achieve a batch size of 300 kW. High-power charging, the power of commercial vehicles will soon reach 500 kW, the next step is to achieve 1000 volts, and finally reach 80% of charging in 15 minutes. In the field of charging facilities, the charging interface is an improvement difficulty. The current direction is fast through liquid cooling. Cool down and increase the current."


Difficulties in profitability

For the development of the charging pile industry, the biggest pain point is undoubtedly the difficulty of profit and slow profit.  Charging pile enterprises are greatly affected by policies and government actions. Some of them have been demolished due to historical problems, and millions of yuan have been lost.

At present, many charging pile enterprises adopt the dual mode of equipment plus operation, which has great similarity with the development of shared bicycles.

Tian Zepu believes that this model has certain drawbacks and does not apply to the charging pile industry.  “Shared bicycles have low cost and high usage rate, so the profit point conversion is faster, charging pile construction cost is high, charging time is long, and usage rate is low. Therefore, charging pile enterprises should not blindly follow suit,” she said.

Tian Zepu proposed that enterprises can refer to the relationship between Didi Chuxing and car companies to think about the future positioning problem.  She said: "The equipment manufacturers are more in the manufacturing industry. They are characterized by heavy assets, sales equipment, and upstream and downstream industry chains. The key is to provide high-quality and intelligent products. The operating platform belongs to the service industry and is light. Assets, earned a service fee."

From the perspective of the overall development of the current charging pile industry, the integration trend has emerged.  The charging pile industry has also changed from the investment fever in the past few years to rational investment. Many of the SMEs that entered the initial stage have been outdated in the market competition due to insufficient financial strength and limited management capabilities.


Recently, the Natural Resources Conservation Association (NRDC) and the State Grid Energy Research Institute jointly released the report “Analysis of the Impact of Electric Vehicle Development on the Distribution Network and Benefits”. In 2020, China will form several large professional service platform operators in the public service field. Mainly, a large number of small and medium-sized operators coexist; in 2030, a few major charging service platform operators will be formed, and most public facilities and special facilities will join one or more platforms.


Li Houzhi, general manager of Judian New Energy Automobile Service Co., Ltd. said that the pile enterprises must develop in the direction of refinement and continue to calculate the internal costs, including the cost of market expansion, the cost of charging pile construction, and the investment of each site. Be closely tied to needs.


Source: New Energy Auto News EV