Electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging stations growing fast in China

Shanghai by night

Chicken or egg? What's needed first for an electric vehicle revolution – EVs or electric vehicle chargers? China realizes that "both" is the right answer

Editor’s note: This is a guest post written by Zachary Shahan, editor of CleanTechnica and Planetsave. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of ABB or its employees.
Electric vehicle sales are finally picking up in China. A handful of hot electric vehicle models combined with strong electric vehicle incentives and excessive air pollution are resulting in fast-growing electric vehicle demand.
In a country filled with very densely populated cities, however, rapidly building electric vehicle charging infrastructure is critical to a genuine electric vehicle (EV) revolution. In the United States, the largest EV market to date, nearly 100% of EV owners have a garage in which they can charge their cars. In Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Shantou, Shenzhen, and Tianjin – each of which has a population of over 10 million – an EV revolution will only come about with a good network of EV chargers and especially fast-chargers. Luckily, progress is also being made on that front.
A 2013 report from the International Energy Agency noted that, “China has taken the lead in total EV charging capacity, having the most equipment for EV charging/battery swap.” It stated that there were 13,283 AC charge spots put into use by the national grid by that time, as well as 243 standard stations for charging/battery swap. Nonetheless, many more will be needed for EVs to become the dominant segment rather than a niche segment of the auto industry. The good news is that the Chinese government, EV companies, and EV charging leaders like ABB are well aware of that.
“Forty-eight major Chinese cities are planning ambitious expansion plans to increase the total number of electric vehicle charging stations to 1,549, and the number of charging poles to 238,559 by 2015,” according to an article in China Money Network last month. “That compares with a total of 307 charging stations and 16,947 charging poles in these 48 cities as of October 2013.”
China EV charging poles
ABB announced earlier this year that it would be rolling out the world’s largest EV fast-charging network, in China. ABB and Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co. will soon begin distribution of wall-mounted chargers through DENZA dealerships. “The Chinese government has introduced a direct current (DC) fast charging ‘GBT’ standard to encourage technical innovation and stimulate market acceptance of EVs. The urban charging infrastructure will be a key driver for EV adoption. The GBT standard will give Chinese consumers the opportunity to conveniently charge their vehicles at home or at public charging stations. Public DC fast charging is expected to be rolled out in China in the near future,” the news release stated.
ABB has been a leader in EV charging infrastructure in other parts of the world as well. It offers Internet-based charging infrastructure for all charging standards (there are several at the moment). “ABB chargers are Internet connected to ensure the highest uptime. Internet-based charging enables fast global service and pro-active maintenance. Additionally, the chargers easily connect to any service or payment application to increase added value,” an ABB page on that topic notes.
I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more news about EV charging in China in the coming few years, and I expect ABB will be linked to a good amount of that.
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About the author

Zachary Shahan

I'm the director of the CleanTechnica and Planetsave news sites. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. I'm also the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity.
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