Recently, the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Bureau formulated the "Implementation Opinions on Accelerating the Construction of Charging Infrastructure to Better Support the Rural and Rural Revitalization of New Energy Vehicles" officially promulgated. The Opinions encourage localities with conditions to provide support such as consumption vouchers to rural residents with household registration to purchase new energy vehicles in the county where their household registration is located; Encourage localities with the capacity to introduce special support policies for the construction and operation of public charging infrastructure in rural areas.

This is not the first time that the state has encouraged new energy vehicles to go to the countryside from the policy point of view. What are the reasons for mentioning new energy vehicles going to the countryside? How much market can new energy vehicles leverage in the countryside? How to break through the blocking points and difficulties in sinking development?

There is a lot of room for development

Historically, China has launched two policies for cars to the countryside. The first car trip to the countryside was in 2009-2010, and the policy was mainly aimed at mini vehicles, that is, crossover passenger cars. The second time cars went to the countryside was from 2019 to 2022, during which policies related to new energy vehicles to the countryside were introduced every year, relevant departments carried out new energy vehicle rural activities, local governments followed up with financial subsidies, and many car companies launched new models and preferential measures to go to the countryside.

Data show that since July 2020, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce and other departments have continuously carried out new energy vehicle rural activities. After nearly three years of efforts, sales of new energy vehicles in the second half of 7, 3 and 2020 increased by 2021%, 2022% and 80% year-on-year, respectively.

"The rapid growth of sales reflects the great potential of new energy vehicles in the rural market, which not only opens up new industrial development space, but also meets the new needs of rural consumption." Tong Zongqi, deputy secretary-general of the Charging and Swapping Branch of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers and the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance, deeply agreed.

According to the "Research on Electric Vehicle Mobility in Rural China" released by the China Electric Vehicle 2030 Association, it is estimated that by 160, there will be nearly 7000 cars in rural China, with a total ownership of more than 5000 million vehicles, and the market size may reach <> billion yuan.

According to data from the Passenger Association of China, in March this year, the penetration rate of pure electric passenger vehicles in county and rural areas was 3%, and the penetration rate of plug-in hybrid passenger vehicles in county and rural areas was 16%, and there is still much room for improvement. In the future, non-restricted cities, small and medium-sized cities, and county and rural areas are expected to become a huge incremental market for new energy vehicles.

Zhang Yueyou, a researcher at the Yangtze River Industrial Economics Research Institute of Nanjing University, said that in the past three years, although the new energy vehicles in China's vast county market have increased, the rural new energy vehicle market is still a blue ocean that has yet to be developed. "It has been more than 3 years since the first batch of cars went to the countryside in 2009, and it is ushering in the window of replacement and upgrading. According to statistics from the Ministry of Public Security, in 10, the number of cars in rural areas in China will reach 2022 million, accounting for 1.4% of the national total. At an annual replacement rate of 44 per cent, tens of millions of motor vehicles in rural areas need to be replaced every year. China's rural population of nearly 1 million is an important area for tapping the potential of domestic demand. Zhang Yueyou said.

Unblock blocking points

After years of efforts, the technical level of China's new energy vehicle industry has been significantly improved, and new energy vehicles have been increasingly recognized by consumers. However, there are still many blocking points in the promotion of new energy vehicles in rural areas. For example, the insufficient construction of public charging infrastructure in rural areas, the difficulty of installing and sharing charging facilities in residential communities, and the prominent contradiction between supply and demand in time limits the release of new energy vehicle consumption potential in rural areas.

Zhang Yueyou believes that there are two reasons for the lack of charging stations and insufficient infrastructure construction in rural areas: First, the number of new energy vehicles in rural areas is small, the utilization rate of charging facilities is low, coupled with the vast rural area, the high cost of charging facilities operation and maintenance, poor return on investment, and insufficient willingness of charging operators to invest and build. Second, the deep-seated problems in the construction of rural charging infrastructure lie in the difficulties of station land and power grid expansion.

In terms of land use, the construction of public charging piles and stations requires corresponding land procedures, while rural land is mostly collective land and requires certain policy support; In terms of power grid, the construction of charging piles in rural areas, especially high-power fast charging piles, requires a certain amount of power capacity support. Township public transformers often cannot meet the demand, need to be replaced in large quantities, and even have to upgrade and expand the capacity to transform the rural power grid, which involves a wide range of areas and costs a lot of money.

Based on this, the "Opinions" listed "charging piles first" as an important guide, and formulated policy rules from the aspects of construction, operation and maintenance of charging piles, so as to guide local governments to issue more detailed development plans that meet the situation on the ground, and accelerate the use and popularization of new energy vehicles in rural areas.

As for how to support local governments and enterprises to jointly promote the implementation of the work, the "Opinions" proposed to promote it in three aspects: finance, land and electricity. In terms of financial support, the policy proposes to use tools such as local government special bonds to support the construction of charging and swapping infrastructure such as eligible expressways and ordinary national and provincial trunk highway service areas (stations), public car and tram depots and bus passenger stations. In terms of land use and electricity, we will increase support such as land use guarantees, carry out the construction and transformation of supporting power grids, and enhance the support and guarantee capacity of rural power grids. By 2030, the electricity consumption of centralized charging and swapping facilities with two-part electricity prices will be exempted from demand (capacity) electricity fees, and the constraints on the investment efficiency of relevant distribution network construction by power grid enterprises will be relaxed, and the full amount will be included in the recovery of transmission and distribution prices.

The "Opinions" require local governments to issue special policies to support the construction of rural charging infrastructure, but do not give specific subsidy standard guidelines. In this regard, many enterprises engaged in charging infrastructure construction reported that at the specific implementation level, they look forward to issuing financial subsidy rules for charging infrastructure construction as soon as possible.

Meeting rural needs

Although there are still many problems to be solved in the countryside of new energy vehicles, as Su Hui, executive vice president of the Tangible Market Chamber of Commerce of the China Automobile Dealers Association, said, going to the countryside can meet the needs of rural areas to a large extent and promote rural revitalization.

At present, there are still a variety of motor vehicles in China's rural areas, including "agricultural vehicles", "low-speed electric vehicles", diesel vehicles, gasoline vehicles, etc.

Experts said that accelerating the purchase and use of new energy vehicles by rural residents in areas suitable for the development of new energy vehicles is not only conducive to releasing the potential of rural consumption, but also an important starting point for the country to promote consumption and expand domestic demand, and is also of great significance to accelerating emission control in rural transportation and helping to achieve the "dual carbon" goal on schedule. The promulgation of the Opinions is timely.

Cui Dongshu, secretary of the National Passenger Vehicle Market Information Association, said that the key to the success of new energy vehicles in the countryside is to improve the consumption environment, especially to strengthen the construction of charging piles and rural sales service and maintenance systems, so that rural new energy vehicle users can achieve "easy to buy a car, convenient to use a car, and worry-free to repair a car".

In the face of a huge market, how should new energy vehicle companies seize the opportunity? Xu Haidong, deputy chief engineer of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, believes that the rural market is the increment of the future development of China's automobile market, and automobile companies need to develop models that are suitable according to the needs of rural consumers.

Zhang Yueyou said that relevant departments should actively mobilize automakers, aftermarket service providers, charging infrastructure operators and other forces to jointly promote new energy vehicles to the countryside. "Rural residents pay more attention to the cost performance when buying cars, and it is difficult to have a market for models with prices higher than those of the same level; In addition, farmers pay more attention to the multi-use of one vehicle, such as taking into account special needs such as transportation, agricultural use, and pulling goods, and require new energy vehicles to have not only consumption functions, but also production functions. To meet the needs of the rural market, new energy vehicle companies can focus on microsurfaces, pickup trucks, microtrucks, light trucks and other products. Zhang Yueyou suggested.

(Economic Daily, Gong Mengze, Cao Peiyuan)