Coastal Provinces Are Leading in Public Charging Infrastructure for New-Energy Vehicles in China

Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics > Trustee China Hand

By Brian Hart and Qiu Mingda

China has spent massively in promoting the use of new-energy vehicles (NEVs), and building charging infrastructure is one part of the effort. But the developments are highly unbalanced across different regions.

According to the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance, as of August 2018, a total of 278,736 public charging piles have been reported by its members. From December 2017 to August 2018, the total number of reported charging piles grew by close to 65,000 piles from 213,903 piles. This represents a 30% increase over this 8-month period, or an average of about 8,100 new piles nationwide per month.

Figure 1: The Top Ten

The top 10 cities and provinces – predominantly located on the east coast – accounted for 77% of China’s total number of piles, as well as 70% of the national growth in this period. The bottom 10 provinces only accounted for 3% of total piles, and less than 6% of growth. Beijing remains the national leader with more than 40,000 piles; the number of piles in Shanghai grew by 34%, allowing it to overtake Guangdong for the number-two spot. The province with the fastest growing number of piles is Inner Mongolia, with a growth rate of 380%, growing from just 177 piles in December 2017 to 849 in August 2018. Ningxia is the slowest growing province with a growth rate of only 4%. Tibet has the smallest number - nine piles available for public use.

These trends suggest that growth in charging piles is closely following the broader trends of China’s national economic development, with the most populous and most developed provinces and cities dominating in overall numbers and contribution to national growth. It also indicates where we can expect the highest rates of NEV ownership, since access to power charging piles will provide the conditions necessary for owning and driving NEVs.

Figure 2: Number of Public Charging Piles in China (2015 – August 2018)

To learn more about the development of NEVs in China, read the latest CIPS report, China’s Risky Drive into New-Energy Vehicles, by Scott Kennedy.

Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics > Trustee China Hand

Brian Hart was a research intern with the Freeman Chair in China Studies at CSIS. Qiu Mingda is a research associate with the Freeman Chair in China Studies at CSIS.