Text/Picture Guangzhou Daily all-media reporter Deng Li
Public charging piles are the energy replenishment option for most "tram" drivers. Of course, there are also individual brand owners who will be a little "hissed": "We have exclusive charging piles, and they may be free." In recent years, the development of exclusive charging piles for new energy vehicle brands and public charging piles has gone hand in hand. However, we occasionally see similar scenes: a certain brand "tram" that clearly has exclusive overcharging runs to the public charging pile to charge, while the adjacent exclusive pile is idle.
Before the May Day holiday this year, Tesla claimed to be "open to the pattern" and announced the pilot opening of the charging network in China. Although the first batch of pilot charging stations only has 10 superchargers and 120 destination charging stations, it is also the first step towards open sharing. Some insiders believe that the use of charging piles should give more consideration to social benefits and maximize utilization rates, and brand-exclusive charging piles can also remove the "service wall" and open the "broken circle".
Phenomenon: Exclusive charging piles are a bit "flooded"
At 7 p.m. this past Monday, the owner Xiao Zhang drove the Model Y to Tianhuan Plaza to have dinner with friends, he easily found Tesla's exclusive supercharging parking space in the underground parking lot, parked, charged, and left the venue after dinner.
At almost the same time, driving a brand of pure electric vehicle that he had just bought, Mr. Qin also came to the underground parking lot of Tianhuan Square, and he searched in advance to know that there were more than 30 public charging piles here. Unfortunately, after waiting for more than ten minutes, and even making several circles in the parking lot, Mr. Qin still did not wait for other trams to "give way" to the public pile, and finally he could only stop in the non-charging parking space, giving up the idea of recharging the vehicle while eating.
If you have the opportunity to go to Shanghai, you will also see such a scene: the Hongqiao Airport parking lot is becoming a popular choice for new energy vehicle brand "enclosure". In the past year, Volvo, Aion, Skyfan, Cadillac, and Audi have entered the station, each of which has established a brand exclusive charging area, with charging positions ranging from 3 to 5, but these charging piles can only be used for exclusive brand trams.
With the rapid advancement of the wave of electrification, State Grid, China Southern Power Grid and third-party charging pile brands are actively deploying public charging stations, and new energy vehicle companies are also providing supporting energy replenishment services in a wide net. The reporter's investigation found that in the most popular supermarkets, five-star hotels, well-known scenic spots and landmarks and other parking areas, Tesla, Aion, Xpeng, NIO and many other brands exclusive charging piles or exchange stations.
Investigation: The use of "pile" gaps coexists with low utilization
The problem ensued: in the underground parking lot of a hotel in Pazhou, Guangzhou, Volkswagen built a brand-exclusive "CAMAX charging station" here about three years ago, but many of the parking spaces are mostly unused and sometimes occupied by other cars as general parking spaces. Similar idle scenes have also appeared from time to time in Tesla supercharging stations. Reporters have seen in many popular business districts that during non-working hours, Tesla supercharging piles are idle more than 90% during most of the day. In contrast, there are frequent charging queues on holidays and weekends, and charging queues in popular business districts, service stations, and scenic spots.
So, is the current charging pile enough? According to data released by the China Charging Alliance, from May 2022 to April 5, an average of about 2023,4 new public charging piles were added every month, and the number continued to grow rapidly. Among them, as of April 5, member units in the alliance have reported a total of 8.2023 million public charging piles, a year-on-year increase of 4%.
"At present, the incremental ratio of pile vehicles is 1:2.5, and the construction of charging infrastructure basically meets the development of new energy vehicles. 2.5 cars grab 1 charging pile, which is basically enough for daily use, but it is a little stretched during peak hours. On holidays, there are also queues at exclusive charging stations. Xiao Chen, senior product manager of Star Charging, told reporters that the original intention of the brand to build exclusive charging stations is good, and when the public charging piles in some cities are not enough, exclusive charging stations can enhance the experience of car owners and play a role in promoting sales. At present, the contradiction between the "pile" gap of new energy vehicles and the low utilization rate coexist, and the existence of exclusive charging stations is a bit "eye-catching".
Analysis: Is it feasible to open and share charging piles?
"Blindly increasing the number of charging piles cannot fundamentally solve the problem of charging anxiety." Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the Passenger Association, believes that private charging piles, exclusive charging stations, public charging piles, and shared private piles play different roles in different charging scenarios, and the existing problems are also different. "Optimizing and integrating the resources of existing charging piles is the key, which is conducive to solving the problems of low utilization rate of charging piles and uneven distribution of charging piles in some areas." Some insiders bluntly said that the number of trams has increased significantly, and the problem of idle and wasteful resources in brand-exclusive charging stations is one of the solutions to "open sharing".
The reporter noticed that the brand's exclusive charging pile began to tear down the "service wall", and some car companies encouraged car owners to "rub" each other's piles. Last year, NIO and Xpeng jointly launched a charging sharing service, where two car owners can "use each other" each other's brand charging piles. This year, Qin Lihong, co-founder and president of NIO, "broke the news": "During the Spring Festival holiday, 76% of the resources of NIO charging piles served non-NIO brands. NIO's data shows that during the week of the Spring Festival holiday, BYD models charged nearly 410.17 million kWh, accounting for 6.368%, and Tesla models also charged nearly 15.8 million kWh, accounting for <>.<>%. In this regard, Qin Lihong believes: "Car companies should build their own charging piles and open charging interfaces. ”
Fortunately, Tesla has begun to "wake up": Tesla announced in April this year that it will pilot the opening of the charging network in China. In short, in the future, other brands of electric vehicles can also "rub" Tesla's supercharging pile to charge. From the perspective of the industry, the opening of the charging network of leading car companies is conducive to promoting the standardization of the electric vehicle charging industry faster and the popularization of new energy vehicles.
Will I need a dedicated charging pile in the future?
With the improvement of infrastructure such as public charging stations, will exclusive charging stations still be necessary in the future? In this regard, the industry generally believes that specific locations can be needed, but the general direction is open.
Sharing infrastructure and maximizing the utilization rate of charging piles is the general trend of the development of the charging pile industry, and the opening of exclusive charging stations is the general trend. "Exclusive charging piles still have a reason to exist in specific scenarios." Ouyang Chen, an automotive industry analyst and automotive power engineer, pointed out that there are still some technical, service and charging interoperability problems in the sharing of exclusive charging stations between different brands, which need to be jointly negotiated by enterprises and relevant institutions.
"When I bought Tesla, I saw that it had an exclusive charging network." One Tesla owner said he had concerns about the service experience after opening. From the perspective of brand users, opening charging to other models means that it is bound to increase the congestion of supercharging stations. How to ensure user service experience while opening up will be an important topic.
Some insiders suggest that at this stage, only some charging stations with low utilization rates should be market-oriented to reduce charges. At the same time, individual parking spaces are reserved for exclusive charging by car owners to maintain the breakeven of charging stations.
At present, fast charging technology has a greater effect on alleviating charging difficulties, but the problem of fast charging technology is that after charging to 80%, the charging speed of electric vehicles will drop sharply, and the last 20% of charging will waste a lot of time, making the operation efficiency of the charging station become lower. Yiran, a partner of Jielanlu Consulting Company, suggested that during the peak period of electricity consumption on holidays, some public charging facilities (such as service areas) should adopt dynamic current limiting mode, such as charging to 80%, directly power off, accelerating the turnover rate and average charging efficiency. This requires joint negotiation among all brands.
For car owners who do not have exclusive charging services for brands, price comparison is an important part of charging. Some Tesla owners told reporters that the average price of overcharging is more than 2 per kWh, and most of the third-party charging piles only need more than 1 piece. The implication is that although the brand's exclusive charging pile is open, it may not be able to attract other brand owners.
In addition, to use exclusive brand charging piles, but also to download the corresponding APP, some car owners believe that if the background can be open to each other, such as the online car sharing platform, it will be more convenient.
According to public data, Tesla has more than 1,2000 superchargers in Chinese mainland and more than 2200,2 destination charging piles; Xpeng has deployed 4,600 charging stations and 455,567 charging piles, while NIO has 1 exchange stations, 4 supercharging stations and <> destination charging stations in Chinese mainland, with nearly <>,<> charging piles built in total.
In recent years, the "vehicle pile ratio" of new energy vehicles and charging piles has remained relatively stable, from 2021:3 in 1 to 2022.2:42 in 1. In April, the "vehicle pile ratio" rose slightly to 4.2:5.