Breaking the "difficulty in charging": Is it enough to build a charging pile?

  The vehicle to pile ratio has reached 3.05:1, and the number of vehicles is small, the charging is slow, the zombie piles, and the profitability problems need to be solved. There are also problems such as capacity limitations when replacing electricity.

  "I am one of the'victims' who were stuck on the road during the National Day. In order to charge the car, I had to line up at the high-speed service area in the direction of entering Beijing in Meng County, Yangquan, Shanxi." Mr. Fan told the Beijing News Shell Finance reporter.

  During the National Day holiday, “queuing for four hours, charging for one hour”, “don’t dare to turn on the air conditioner in a traffic jam, take the cool on the roadside”, “fight to grab the charging pile” and other news rushed to the hot search, because the charging is difficult to be blocked on the highway. There are not a few electric car owners.

  While electric vehicles are booming, related companies are constantly enclosing the charging pile market.

The agency predicts that the cumulative market space for charging piles will exceed 100 billion yuan from 2020 to 2025.

With the rapid development of the market, why is it still difficult to charge during holidays?

How many charging piles need to be built to be enough?

  According to data from the Ministry of Public Security, as of September 2021, the number of new energy vehicles in China has reached 6.78 million.

According to data provided by the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance, as of September 2021, the number of charging infrastructure in China is 2.223 million units.

The vehicle to pile ratio is 3.05:1.

  The lower the pile-to-vehicle ratio, the easier it is to charge, but how much the pile-to-vehicle ratio should be reduced requires market reality.

On the one hand, the number of new energy vehicles has grown, and consumers' demand for the charging speed and quality of new energy vehicles has continued to grow; on the other hand, charging pile operators have large investments and low returns, which are facing operational pressure.

  This has led to few consumers complaining about insufficient charging piles and queuing for charging on weekdays. However, during peak periods such as holidays, such as high-speed, popular business districts and other places, the problem of queuing and charging has exploded.

How to solve the above-mentioned contradictions is becoming a problem that the industry must face.


  "One is not fast enough, and two are not enough" Some car owners said "I'm used to it"

  "Charging queues on the highway, whether the charging piles in the surrounding cities can be used, I don't know if I can find them, and I don't dare to take risks. Anyway, I won't drive far away on holidays in the future." Mr. Fan said.

  In response to the charging anxiety faced by car owners, the reporter communicated with a number of electric vehicle owners at several charging stations in Beijing.

When it comes to the reasons for the inconvenience of high-speed and normal charging, everyone basically says "one is not fast enough, and the second is not enough".

  On the issue of not charging fast enough, consumers’ core dissatisfaction is that electric vehicles are not as fast as petrol vehicles.

Even the excellent Tesla V3 super charging station in the industry, in the reporter's offline test, can achieve 200km of battery life supplement in 15 minutes.

But compared to a fuel car that can fill a tank of 50L gasoline in 5 minutes and endure over 500km, there is still a big gap.

  Many charging stations and vehicles cannot meet the technical requirements for super fast charging.

The rated power of most fast-charging piles in China is still 60kW, and the charging speed is not fast. A GAC Toyota iA5 needs about 40 minutes to supplement the 200km battery life during the test.

  If you put your eyes on the home charger, the general home charger is 7kW or 3.5kW. A Beijing car owner told reporters that the home charger is relatively slow, and it takes 6-8 hours to fully charge a charge.

  On the other hand, although the vehicle-to-pile ratio in China has reached 3.05:1, many interviewees still mentioned that the charging piles for electric vehicles are not enough.

"I have been in my family for ten years, and I can't shake the gasoline truck indicator. There are children at home, so I really need a car. But my family can't install a charging pile, it is very inconvenient to use the car to charge." Ms. Wu complained to the reporter.

  For individual car owners, the current charging piles entering the community are their core demands, and wandering around for charging is always worrying.

Car owners with a relatively short cruising range have to worry about finding a place to recharge in winter. Otherwise, they have to worry about the cruising range being discounted by the car and being "thrown" on the road.

  Behind the troubles of various charging problems, car owners frequently mentioned "get used to it".

Mr. Zhu, the owner of an electric car who has just changed to an electric car, said in an interview: "The charging speed of a new car is really fast. It used to take more than an hour to charge up, but now it’s almost 40 minutes." It's full." Mr. Zhu's wife teased from the side.

Mr. Zhu could only smile and replied: "People must be content."

  The phrase "get used to it" highlights the difficulty of car owners.

The so-called "getting used to" is not a good thing. If car owners no longer have expectations for improved charging, it will affect the repurchase of electric vehicles and the consumer desire of potential electric vehicle owners.


  "Big problems" lead to "small problems" car owners find all kinds of "blockers"

  Around the two core problems of slow charging and the small number of charging piles, more complex minor problems have also emerged.

  Many car owners may not be able to install charging piles in front of their homes because there are no parking spaces or insufficient capacity in the community. They can only charge at the public charging piles in the parking lot.

  "My BYD e5 is not bad, but under the condition of fast charging in the parking lot, it takes one hour to charge 80%. If it is not going to the mall, I have to stay in the car during this time and fight mosquitoes in the summer. , Fighting with the cold wind in winter, there is no toilet in the parking lot next to my house.” said the owner Mr. Zhou.

In addition, other car owners said that going to the parking lot will also face a series of problems such as limited charging piles, space occupied by fuel vehicles, and damage to the charging guns.

  "I bought this car early, and it’s not fast to charge. Because of the communication protocol problem, some piles can’t match. The pile information on the APP is incomplete, so I have to download several piles, and the displayed information is wrong. When I arrived at the charging station, The result is either occupied by a fuel car, or it is broken." Another electric car owner, Ms. Wu, has encountered more problems.

  In Ms. Wu's view, new energy vehicles are currently developing rapidly and are constantly updated, but they have not taken care of the old car owners.

  In addition to charging fees, some parking lots have higher parking fees, and vehicle owners have to pay service fees to charging pile operators when charging.

Mr. Zhou calculated the bill, "I am far away from work and charging in the mall is convenient, but I can't go to the mall as soon as I charge, and the parking fee in the mall is so expensive." 5 yuan per hour, the city charges will reach 10 yuan or more per hour.

  Mr. Liu, an online car-hailing owner, told reporters that the cost of driving an electric car has soared.

In his view, he used an electric car to run online car-hailing because he took a fancy to the so-called cost of 20 yuan per hundred kilometers of electricity, which is 50% cheaper than fuel vehicles.

However, when he drove the electric car-hailing system, he discovered that the electricity fee may be very low when charging, but there are also service fees, parking fees, and time costs for the energy supplement stage.

In other words, compared with fuel vehicles, the advantages are very limited.

  "If we charge in the daytime, the electricity bill is about 1 yuan per kilowatt-hour, the service fee is 80 yuan, and the parking fee is 8 yuan an hour. My 40-degree battery costs about 60 yuan per charge, and it has a supplementary battery life of more than 200 kilometers. "Mr. Liu said, "My friend drives a Toyota hybrid car. His fuel consumption is about 4L per 100 kilometers. Now it costs 7 yuan for 1L of 92# fuel. There is almost no cost difference between the two sides. Moreover, their gas stations are widely distributed. The speed is also fast." In Mr. Liu's view, there is no charging station at home to open online car-hailing, and the cost advantage is not obvious from the operating point of view.


  Can changing the battery solve the difficulty of charging?

Swap station faces capacity constraints

  In addition to charging piles, can the construction of swap stations improve the problem of energy supply in an all-round way?

  Mr. Fan mentioned that because he is driving Weilai's EC6 model, he can realize a combination of charging and battery replacement.

At a high-speed rest point where there is a swap station, the swap trip can be completed almost without queuing.

  However, there are still some unsolved problems in power exchange.

  First of all, the number of substations is difficult to meet the demand.

Data show that as of September 2021, China has 890 electric vehicle swap stations, including 221 in Beijing, 128 in Guangdong, 83 in Zhejiang, and only 60 in Shanghai.

Among these 890 replacement power stations, the investment of enterprises is not balanced. Only the Weilai family accounted for nearly half, reaching 417.

  Secondly, Zhang Xiang, an automotive analyst, told reporters that if you want to develop a battery swap model, batteries of different specifications mean that cars cannot be connected to each other, which may result in a waste of resources. In the future, if the industry wants to vigorously promote the development of swap stations, the battery specifications will be unified. It is also very necessary.

  Third, it is also questionable how many electric vehicles can be exchanged in a short period of time.

Generally, the number of batteries stored in a single swap station is difficult to cope with the large-scale power swap demand in the short term, and a substantial increase in the number of storage will face cost pressure.

It is understood that the number of batteries carried by Weilai's latest second-generation power station is only 13.

With the continuous increase in the number of new energy vehicles, there is still room for improvement in the supply.

  Fourth, the battery that has been replaced also needs to be charged.

Charging also takes time. If the batteries have been completely replaced, the lack of electricity will also face the problem of long charging time.

  Gao Xiang, vice president of the New Energy Vehicle Research Institute of the China Electric Vehicles Association of 100, told reporters that the charging process is facing many challenges, and energy supplement is one of the most important aspects for consumers to purchase new energy vehicles.

By developing multi-scenario charging modes, improving charging speeds, promoting capacitor upgrades in old communities, and combining power station swapping methods, it may help consumers to better experience new energy vehicles, and the new energy vehicle industry will also have a better development.

  With the continuous increase in the number of new energy vehicles in China, Zhang Yongwei, vice chairman and secretary-general of the China Electric Vehicles Association, mentioned in early 2021 that according to forecasts, the number of electric vehicles in China should be 80 million around 2030. .

  If we follow the current 3.05:1 ratio of vehicles to piles, it means that China’s charging piles will increase by nearly 1,200% in 2030.

However, the reporter inquired about the data and found that the vehicle to pile ratio in 2020 is 2.93:1. In 2021, the vehicle to pile ratio does not decrease but rises. What happened to the charging pile market?


  The charging pile is not used when it is idle, not enough when it is busy

  On the one hand, consumers will complain about the inconvenience of charging, and hope that companies will build more charging piles to increase charging speed and develop super charging technology.

On the other hand, some people in the industry also expressed to reporters their concerns about "low utilization of charging piles, difficulty in construction of overcharging stations, high costs, and not easy to make profits."

  "Consumers have demand, and we want to serve everyone well, but our charging station operators can only make money by selling electricity. Now some companies have to waive the service fee during the charging process in order to grab the market, which is really difficult." A staff member of the charging pile operating company who did not want to be named told reporters.

  At the recent 2021 Global New Energy and Smart Car Supply Chain Innovation Conference, Sun Guangmin, Vice President of Ideal Motors, mentioned that according to statistics, the overall operating efficiency of various public charging stations in China is generally not high.

Statistics show that the average daily usage of a single pile exceeds 80% of five times or less, and the proportion of two or less daily usage exceeds 40%.

  Zhang Xiang said that the high price of public charging piles and high parking fees have also affected consumers' willingness to use charging piles.

Some consumers will choose to connect a "flying wire" from their homes and use their home power to charge their cars. The price is only 1/3 of the price of public charging piles.

  Since the charging industry is an asset-heavy industry, related business directions are still expanding, and the business model is still relatively simple, and it is difficult for charging pile operators to make money.

Zheng Junyi, vice chairman of Wanbang Digital Energy Co., Ltd., introduced to reporters that according to calculations, after calculating the electricity and service fees, charging pile operators can receive a service fee of 0.6 yuan for each kilowatt-hour of electricity sold. It can also generate a gross profit of 36 yuan if it can make up about 60 kilowatt-hours of electricity in an hour, and the performance is not outstanding.

And if it is on a slow filling pile, its efficiency will be lower.

  According to industry insiders, charging piles are currently being developed, and the charging piles invested by many companies in the early stages are becoming "heavy-hit areas."

On the one hand, due to the inconsistent standards of the charging piles in the early stage, they do not match the current vehicle charging interfaces, are in disrepair, equipment is aging, and the energy supplement efficiency is very low. Consumers dare not use them; on the other hand, slow charging piles are relatively low-cost. , The single price is less than 2,000 yuan. Early charging pile companies invested a lot of such charging piles, but because the speed is too slow, everyone is more willing to choose fast charging piles.

  "In fact, price limit is also a practical consideration. Our electricity prices and service fees have limited profit margins. It costs 2 million yuan to build a charging station, and later maintenance, maintenance, and payment of land rent. These are all costs." Some interviewees said.

  A series of problems such as low utilization rate of single pile, poor profitability of selling electricity, not enough use in idle time, not enough use in busy time, etc. make consumers and operators dissatisfied.


  How does the contradiction between the needs of consumers and operators meet the needs of consumers?

  According to data from the Ministry of Transport in September, the current number of charging piles on highways nationwide is 10,836, and there are 2,318 charging pile service areas. On average, each service area can only charge 4.6 vehicles at the same time.

Can the problem be solved by directly adding charging piles and increasing the charging speed?

  Industry experts said that it can be divided according to charging scenarios, and improvements can be made in different links to meet the different needs of consumers.

  Sun Guangmin believes that the current consumer charging scene can be divided into three levels based on the charging time.

The first floor is an 8-hour stay, the main environment is the residence and work place, and slow filling piles can be the main environment; the second layer is 1-3 hours staying, the main environment is shopping malls and other activities, the current 60kW fast-filling piles More matching needs; the third layer is a 10-minute super fast charge, and the main environment is similar to high-speed rest areas and gas stations.

But at present, the charging facilities and models do not meet the requirements of super fast charging.

  Through three different scenarios of charging standards, it is possible to better balance consumer demand, battery life and the carrying capacity of the grid.

At present, in view of the 8-hour stay on the first floor, many old residential areas do not have enough capacitors to support the construction of car charging piles. Therefore, transforming the grid of old communities and promoting charging pile sharing is a very important part of the development of new energy vehicles; The second layer of shopping mall charging also needs to improve the old grid, increase the layout, and provide appropriate consumption reduction policies; the third layer of super fast charging requires a two-way breakthrough in the core technology of the pile and the car, such as high-power charging Stations, high-voltage platforms for vehicles, etc.

  In terms of business model, enterprises can provide consumers with better services by providing more supporting facilities such as toilets, sun visors, and rest rooms for charging stations.

  Zhang Xiang mentioned that enterprises and the government should cooperate with each other to try to promote the creation of a nationwide unified APP, avoid information blind spots, and guide consumers to more efficient charging stations.

  In terms of policy and implementation, more rewards and punishments can be added to the problems of oil trucks occupying space, charging pile damage and not being updated and repaired in time.

The recent reform of electricity prices can also coordinate charging scenarios, allowing users to experience higher-quality charging services.

In the face of grid pressure, while improving grid capacity, it is also an effective measure to properly guide consumers to charge during off-peak hours.

As for the charging demand for holiday travel, perhaps as a consumer mentioned: Don't build too many charging stations, but configure charging cars in key links to serve users in need.

  The industry generally believes that in order to resolve the contradiction, operators must improve the charging technology for different scenarios.

In addition, policies should also introduce incentives to guide the upgrading and expansion of the power system of the community to help consumers make better use of electric vehicles.

  Beijing News reporter Bai Haotian

Keywords: energy vehicles, one, vehicles, home charger, difficulty, charging pile, number, problems, liu, hand, charging, fan, the'victims, car owners, charging piles