Infrastructure, Storage

COVID-19 brings the growth of China’s charging station sector to a month-long halt

On March 12, the China Electric Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance released data on the country’s operation of charging stations for January-February 2020.

As of the end of February 2020, members of the Alliance had reported that 531,000 public and 714,000 privately-owned charging stations have been installed and are operative across the country, adding up to 1.245 million units, an increase of 43.8 percent from a year earlier.

Among the 531,000 public charging stations, 311,000 offer AC, 220,000 offer DC, while 488 offer both AC/DC.

From March 2019 to February 2020, the number of public charging stations installed per month averaged about 15,000, with a year-on-year growth of 52.8 percent for February 2020. However, in February 2020, only 195 stations were installed, due to COVID-19 bringing the country to a standstill.

By region, the installation of public stations and charging capacity remain centralized in certain provinces and cities: ten provinces and self-governed cities accounted for 73.9 percent of the installations: Jiangsu, Guangdong, Beijing, Shanghai, Shandong, Zhejiang, Anhui, Hebei, Hubei and Fujian.

Charging capacity is mainly concentrated in Guangdong, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Beijing, Shanghai, Fujian, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi and Zhejiang. Buses are the main users of charging stations, while passenger vehicles are the next largest group that depend on the devices. Other types of vehicles such as sanitation trucks, logistics vehicles and taxis account for a relatively small proportion.

In February 2020, the total charging power of all stations across China had reached 170 million kWh, 400 million kWh or 69.9 percent less than the previous month. On a year-on-year basis, the figure had declined 44.7 percent. COVID-19 has had a great impact on the performance the sector.

When analyzed by operator, the management of public charging stations is also centralized in certain major operators.

As of February 2020, eight operators across the country each managed more than 10,000 stations: Qingdao TGood EVC Co., Ltd. (152,000 charging stations), Star Charge (130,000), State Grid Corporation of China (88,000), ykccn.com (40,000), EV Power (25,000), Anyo Charging (18,000), Potevio (14,000) and Car Energy Net (12,000). The eight operators accounted for 90.2 percent of all of the country’s installed charging stations.

In terms of installations for private use, several factors have hobbled the expansion of the segment: users in one location build a group of stations for collective use, property management companies refuse to allow the construction of private-access stations, and there is no fixed parking space where the car owner resides. As of February 2020, among the 1,048,000 car owners sampled, 334,000 did not have access to a station strictly for the vehicle’s sole use, accounting for 29.4 percent.

For the first two months of 2020, charging facilities increased by 26,000 units, with a year-on-year drop of 54.7 percent. Due COVID-19, both public and private charging facilities showed a significant deceleration.