The AB side of the 100 billion-level charging pile market:

  The cost of a single gun is 100,000 yuan, and it takes 4 years to pay back the cost

  With the market's rigid demand and the favor of capital, charging pile companies are only profitable by 20%

  During the November holiday, the difficulty of charging new energy vehicles has once again become a hot topic. Many owners of new energy vehicles have expressed that they will reconsider whether to use electric vehicles for self-driving during the holidays.

  Chen Shihua, deputy secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said that new energy vehicles and the industrial chain have entered a stage of rapid development at the same time.

Guoyuan Securities analyzed that under the target constraint of 1:1 vehicle to stake ratio in 2030, the total investment in the charging pile market in the next ten years will be nearly one trillion yuan, and the cumulative market space is expected to exceed 100 billion yuan from 2020 to 2025; Institutions such as Net Electric Vehicles and the Foresight Research Institute predict that by 2030, the scale of China's charging pile market will increase by 30 times.

  There are also hidden worries under prosperity.

From the industry's perspective, behind the charging difficulties reported by users of new energy vehicles, the primary problem facing the development of the charging pile industry is "difficulty in making profits."

On the one hand, the market is favored by capital, develops rapidly, and is about to become a new “outlet”.

On the other hand, the utilization rate of public charging piles is only about 4%, and some charging pile companies have difficulty withdrawing from the market for profit.

  How do charging pile companies solve the profitability problem and become a winner on the tuyere?

  The car pile ratio is not very meaningful

  "Zombie Pile" and other problems to be solved

  On the whole, there is still a phenomenon of more vehicles and fewer vehicles between the number of new energy vehicles and the number of charging piles.

  According to data from the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance, as of the end of 2020, the cumulative number of charging infrastructure in the country was 1.681 million. During the same period, the number of domestic new energy vehicles was 492, and the ratio of vehicles to piles was about 2.9:1.

  With the explosive growth in sales of new energy vehicles, charging piles have not grown as much as the sales of new energy vehicles.

According to data from the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance, as of September 30, 2021, the cumulative number of charging infrastructure nationwide was 2.223 million units, a year-on-year increase of 56.8%; the number of new energy vehicles in the same period was 6.78 million, and the number of vehicles Decrease to 3.05:1.

  As of the end of September, 1.044 million of the 2.223 million charging infrastructures were public charging piles and 1.179 million were private charging piles.

Taking public charging piles as an example, the ratio of vehicles to piles was 6.49:1, compared with 6.1:1 at the end of last year; that is to say, on average, each public charging pile corresponds to six or seven pure electric vehicles.

  The "Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Development Guide (2015-2020)" released in 2015 mentioned that the vehicle-to-pile ratio planned in China in 2020 will basically reach 1:1; but Zhang Xiang, a researcher at the Automotive Industry Innovation Research Center of North China University of Technology, said, "At present, the 1:1 goal of vehicle piles has not been achieved. At this stage, the ratio is basically 3:1. With the increase in the cruising range of new energy vehicles, the number of charging piles is basically sufficient, but it should be noted that the distribution of charging piles in China is not Evenly, the proportion of charging piles in the central and western regions is relatively small, and the eastern and the Pearl River Delta regions are more abundant.” He further stated that the layout of charging piles is restricted by many practical factors, on the one hand, geographical factors, on the other hand, power capacity issues. .

  Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the National Passenger Car Market Information Association, has the same view. He believes that “the ratio of vehicles to piles is not very significant. Most private car owners mainly use private charging piles. In this case, public charging piles are frequently used. Relatively low degree and low demand, it can be said to be a feature of advanced construction on the whole."

  In addition to the uneven distribution of charging piles, the charging pile market still has problems such as incompatibility of charging interfaces caused by inconsistent production standards, and "zombie piles" caused by inadequate management and maintenance.

Zhang Xiang said that on the one hand, operators reduce costs and reduce specialized operation and maintenance management personnel for charging piles, which has caused accelerated aging of charging piles; on the other hand, the technology of charging piles has been upgraded rapidly. Charging piles do not meet the new standards, resulting in no users to charge, speeding up the rate at which this type of charging piles are abandoned.

  According to Wang Zidong, the former director of the National 863 Electric Vehicle Major Special Power Battery Test Center, whether it is convenient for pure electric vehicles to supplement energy is the key to the development of the current electric vehicle market. At present, the development of electric vehicles does not match the development of supplementary energy, and the way to supplement energy is more than charging. Pile, wireless charging, smart power transmission, etc. are all ways to supplement energy.

  Behind the rapid development of charging piles

  Thirty percent of companies are struggling on the breakeven line

  The inconsistency in the proportion of vehicle piles and the uneven layout of charging piles are not seen as thorny issues in the development of the charging pile industry in the industry.

Cui Dongshu and other industry insiders believe that with the rapid development of new energy vehicles, charging piles will also show rapid development as supporting infrastructure; the primary problems that restrict their development are difficult business, single profit model, and difficult profitability.

  According to the plan in the "Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Development Guide (2015-2020)", the construction of nearly 5 million charging piles will be completed in China by 2020. This planning goal attracts many capital and players to enter the market; but the reality is It has to face a situation where a large number of charging pile companies are eliminated.

Public data shows that from 2019 to the present, 50% of the domestic charging pile market has closed or withdrawn, and 30% are struggling on the breakeven line.

This means that only about 20% of companies are profitable.

  Taking special calls from the subsidiary of Terad as an example, Terad’s financial report shows that from 2016 to 2020, Terad suffered losses of 29.423 million yuan, 19.489 million yuan, 136 million yuan, 111 million yuan, and 77.696 million yuan, respectively. The total loss was 374 million yuan.

  However, with the rapid development of new energy vehicles, charging piles as supporting facilities have once again become the outlet and are favored by the capital market.

  In May, Xingxing Charge announced that it had obtained the B round of financing led by Hillhouse and IDG. After the financing, Xingxing Charge was valued at 15.5 billion yuan; in June, Cloud Fast Charge completed the B1 round of financing of Ningde Times and other investments; also in June, Terad’s subsidiary Teledyne introduced strategic investment from 10 companies including State Power Investment Corporation and Three Gorges Group through capital increase and share expansion; in September, Yunkuaichang once again announced the completion of the B2 round of financing invested by Weilai Capital and others.

  In an interview with Shell Finance and Economics reporter Yu Dexiang, Chairman of Special Call, said, “Behind the achievements of Special Call are huge capital investment and huge research and development expenses. Four years before the establishment of Special Call, I was terrified and didn’t know when the industry turned. It will appear, with a total loss of 1.2 billion yuan in previous years."

  Cui Dongshu believes that “the difficulty of charging piles for profit is mainly due to the relatively unbalanced development of new energy vehicles. The demand for public charging is not strong, resulting in a poor utilization rate of the entire public charging piles; in addition, the charging infrastructure cannot meet the needs of consumers. , It takes more time and the overall cost is higher."

  Zhang Xiang said, “First, the price system of public charging piles is unreasonable, which is quite different from the price of household charging, and at the same time, parking fees are required; second, the range of new energy vehicles increases and the dependence on charging piles decreases.” For example, in Beijing and Shanghai, the average cost of a kilowatt-hour of electricity in the former public charging pile was 2 yuan, while that of household charging was a few cents.

  In addition, charging pile companies still have a single profit model. Currently, they mainly rely on electricity tariffs and service fees. Taking Beijing as an example, the service fee for special calls during the day is 20 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity, and about 10 cents at night. .

Not only that, in order to grab market share, charging pile companies are also fighting a price war, but they are also facing high-cost and low-income operation problems while soliciting customers.

  The cost of a single gun is about 100,000

  At least 4 years of equipment payback

  According to data from the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance, the current concentration of charging pile facilities in China is still high. In September, 5 companies including Special Call, Xingxing Charging, State Grid, Cloud Fast Charging, and China Southern Power Grid accounted for 74.5% of the public charging pile market. The basic business model of the industry is also evolving towards "diversification of participants", "more segmented market fields" and "multi-channel income sources".

  Shenang Securities analyzes that with policy support, the scale effect of charging piles will also be further revealed, and industry development expectations may increase.

  Cui Dongshu said that the profitability of charging pile companies is to seize group users, do a good job of scene applications, and achieve an effective combination of construction and consumption; second, reduce the cost of public charging piles, increase charging speed, and allow consumers to save money and time.

  Mr. Zhang, the person in charge of a charging station in the Huanjing area, said, “The construction cost is about 100,000 yuan per gun, and it will take at least three and a half years for the equipment to return to the cost after including the charging service fee and charging price difference. ; But this does not include rent, operation and maintenance costs, labor costs and other expenses. If all of them are included, at least four years or more will be able to achieve equipment cost recovery." However, he also said that there will be some subsidies that can shorten the time to pay back.

  According to industry insiders, the average utilization rate of charging piles must reach 10%-15% for companies to achieve profitability, but the utilization rate at this stage is only about 4%.

Cui Dongshu believes that high investment and slow return are the characteristics of the charging pile industry, but in fact, companies have already received subsidies for building charging piles. At this stage, charging pile companies are in the stage of building piles to make money, and will gradually enter a gentle waiting period.

In the future, the charging pile industry should be in a state of sustained low profitability, and it is unlikely to become a highly profitable industry.

  With the rapid development of new energy vehicles and the increase in market penetration, Zhang Xiang and others in the industry generally believe that the market for charging piles is very strong and the market prospects are also great. However, it is still difficult to make a profit at this stage, and it will take at least three to five years. time.

  ■ Dialogue

  China Automobile Association Wang Yao: The average utilization rate of charging piles is only 3%-5%

  According to data from the Travel Association, the domestic retail penetration rate of new energy vehicles reached 21.1% in September 2021, and the penetration rate in 2020 was only 5.8%. New energy vehicles are showing a trend of rapid development.

At the same time, problems such as the difficulty of charging and the imbalance of the proportion of vehicle piles have become constraints on the development of new energy vehicles.

  Wang Yao, Assistant Secretary-General of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers and Minister of Technology Department, said in an exclusive interview with the Beijing News Shell Finance reporter, “At present, due to the uneven distribution of new energy vehicles, the charging market is facing the contradiction between charging queues and low utilization of charging piles. situation."

  The vehicle-to-pile ratio has taken the lead in the world, and charging piles should be deployed in different scenarios

  Beijing News: What do you think is the reason why it is difficult to charge new energy vehicles?

  Wang Yao: At present, due to the uneven distribution of new energy vehicles, the charging market is facing a contradiction between charging queues and low utilization rate of charging piles; the overall utilization rate of charging piles is low, and the industry average utilization rate is around 3%-5%.

  The Beijing News: As of the end of September, the ratio of vehicles to piles in China was 3.05:1. The ratio of new energy vehicles to charging piles is still not coordinated. How to weigh them?

  Wang Yao: At present, compared with foreign charging markets, China's car piles are in a leading position. The pile ratios in the US, European, and Japanese markets are 16:1, 13:1, and 8:1.

In the future, when weighing the ratio of vehicles to piles, charging piles should be reasonably configured according to charging scenarios to form a charging ecology that is mainly charged in residential areas, supplemented by public charging, and supplemented by power exchange.

  Beijing News: At present, the charging pile market still has problems such as "zombie piles" caused by inadequate management and maintenance, and incompatible charging interfaces caused by inconsistent production standards. How to solve these problems?

  Wang Yao: Regarding zombie piles, first, the "Administrative Measures for the Construction and Operation of Charging and Swap Infrastructures" issued by local governments clearly stipulate the withdrawal mechanism of "zombie piles" to avoid the phenomenon of unusable piles occupying social resources for a long time.

  The second is to use various local government platforms to conduct online supervision of local charging facilities, and to improve the operation and maintenance efficiency of charging facilities and ensure the service capabilities of charging facilities by setting reasonable restrictions on charging facilities subsidies.

  The third is to give full play to the role of industry organizations such as the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance, establish an industry self-discipline mechanism, and urge all operators to establish a charging facility operation and maintenance guarantee system, so as to avoid charging facilities that are "built and unmanaged".

  Operators shift from grabbing market share to improving service quality

  Beijing News: With the rapid development of the new energy vehicle market, charging piles have become rigidly needed infrastructure, but why is the charging pile industry still difficult to make a profit?

  Wang Yao: At present, the overall utilization rate of charging piles is low. The industry average utilization rate is around 3%-5%. The industry as a whole cannot achieve profitability. However, some charging infrastructures have achieved profitability through the establishment of strategic partnerships with automobile companies.

  Beijing News: Is there a single profit model for charging pile companies?

How to achieve profitability?

  Wang Yao: At present, as the scale of electric vehicles continues to grow, in order to meet the diverse needs of electric vehicle users, operators have shifted from initially grabbing market share to improving the quality of charging services, and are beginning to explore the establishment of value-added service systems.

  The current profit model of charging facilities can be divided into the following six types:

  One is the charging service fee.

It mainly depends on improving the utilization efficiency of charging piles and charging service fees according to the charging power.

  The second is the additional fees for charging stations. Some operators gain value-added income by adding value-added services such as car washing, catering, and convenience stores at charging stations.

  The third is the revenue of charging information services. With the continuous improvement of users' demand for travel service quality, electric vehicle charging information services have also emerged in response to the trend. Auto companies and travel service providers have purchased charging information services to improve product quality.

All charging operators have established strategic partnerships with mainstream auto companies and actively promoted the interconnection of vehicle pile information. Information services have become the most important source of income in addition to charging service fees, laying a foundation for the development of the charging operation big data value mining industry Base.

  The fourth is to aggregate traffic based on the information service platform, provide in-depth services for electric vehicle owners, provide them with a full range of car life services, and form value-added income.

  The fifth is to provide vehicle safety detection services for electric vehicle users based on the information service platform, and develop vehicle battery safety detection models based on charging big data, and promptly alarm for abnormal charging states. At present, some charging operators have signed service agreements with operating vehicle groups. Commercial value gradually emerged.

  The sixth is based on the platform to provide small and micro charging operators with agency operation services, through the integration of small and micro operators to improve the overall quality of the charging network, and obtain profit sharing (or operating service fees).

  Car companies will become one of the main forces in the construction of charging piles

  Beijing News: The charging pile industry has the characteristics of high investment and slow return. For enterprises, what stage does it need to go through to achieve profitability?

  Wang Yao: The payback period for the investment of charging piles is relatively long. The specific time to realize profit mainly depends on the scale of the promotion and application of new energy vehicles. With the rapid growth of the production and sales of new energy vehicles, it is expected that the profitability of charging facilities can be expected.

  In the future, the charging infrastructure industry will accelerate the organic integration of charging piles with communication technology, cloud computing, smart grid, and Internet of Vehicles, and use new technologies to increase the utilization rate of infrastructure, thereby increasing the profitability of the charging pile industry.

  Beijing News: What is your forecast for the future development of the charging pile industry?

  Wang Yao: In the long run, firstly, the growth of charging pile scale will be further accelerated; secondly, car companies will become one of the main forces in the construction of charging piles; thirdly, industry organizations and leading companies will play a leading role in promoting the development of industry standards; It is the integrated development of charging and multi-industry.

  Beijing News reporter Wang Linlin

Keywords: energy vehicles, cost, charging pile market, pile companies, vehicles, capital, demand, ratio, charging piles, favor, difficulty, number, hand, market, operators