China is on track to build more electric vehicle charging stations over the next five years than the rest of the world combined, in a bid to boost EV penetration in major cities to 60% by 2030, Greentech Media reported last week.
“China will accelerate construction of electric vehicle charging facilities in residential areas to boost production and sales of green cars,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported, adding that the China Energy Administration was looking to install charging capacity for five million EVs by 2020. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is asking power companies to ramp up charging station rollouts in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei Province, Shandong Province, major cities in the Yangtze River Delta, and the Pearl River Delta.
“China has the most aggressive targets for public charging infrastructure in the world,” said Colin McKerracher, advanced transport insight manager with Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “They are aiming for a staggering 4.8 million charging points by 2020. They missed an interim target of 400,000 in 2015, but now it looks like they’re really ramping up their efforts.”
The Xinhua report cited NDRC data showing that the number of charging stations across the country had increased to 81,000 at the end of June, from fewer than 50,000 at the end of last year. “This represents a 65% rise in installation rates over the first six months of 2015, and means China was installing an average of 170 charging stations a day in the first half of this year,” Greentech notes. “And Chinese officials were planning to increase the rate of installations even further.”
A report last week by McKinsey & Company and BNEF said many Chinese cities could adopt a model of “seamless mobility” in which EVs approach or hit the 60% target in the next 15 years.
“We think in China’s biggest cities, like Shanghai, the seamless mobility option looks likely,” McKerracher said. “There is such a vast commuting population, but still comparatively lower rates of car ownership, that these new mobility models have a very good shot at grabbing a big share of the market.”
Greentech points to air pollution in China’s major cities as a major motivator for EV development, and a report last month on Yale Environment 360 captured the country’s dual focus on air quality and rapid greenhouse gas reductions.
“The health of China’s cities is increasingly a global concern,” wrote correspondent Mike Ives. “More than 400 million villagers have moved to China’s cities in recent decades,” and “this rapid urbanization has had severe environmental consequences. Air pollution in China has been linked to more than 400,000 deaths per year,” while “urban sprawl also has destroyed many of China’s critical ecological habitats, particularly in the Pearl River Delta.”
A paper last year put the death toll at 4,000 per day.