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Energy

US and EU playing catch up to China’s lead in EV charging infrastructure

Jan 15

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China has emerged as the global leader in electric vehicle (EV) adoption while also boasting a robust lead over the rest of the world in charging infrastructure. Beijing has overseen the installation of about 2.3 million EV chargers throughout the country — approximately one for every seven Chinese EVs.

Comparatively, the European Union is in a distant second place with around half a million chargers spread across its member states, translating to one charger for every 10 vehicles. Meanwhile, the United States trails both China and the EU, currently boasting approximately 130,000 chargers, equating to one charger for every 18 cars.

Notably, China not only surpasses the competition in quantity but also in quality.

Charging ports in China deliver nearly four kilowatts per EV on average, a stark contrast to the U.S. and EU, where the average is just over one kilowatt per EV. To put it in perspective, this energy difference is akin to powering about 17 standard light bulbs versus 67.

With almost two-thirds of the world’s public EV chargers residing in China, including the largest charging station globally, the U.S. and the EU are gearing up to bridge the gap.

In the U.S., the Biden administration has plans to install half a million chargers by the end of the decade, allocating $7.5 billion for this initiative. Despite this substantial investment, experts suggest that it may only be a fraction of what is needed.

The National Renewable Energy Lab estimates that the U.S. will need to spend somewhere between $31 billion to $55 billion in order to meet anticipated domestic charging needs by 2030.

Meanwhile, a new law adopted by the EU aims to blanket Europe’s highways with EV chargers, mandating installations every 37 miles along the Trans-European Transport Network, the continent’s primary transportation corridor. The European Federation for Transport and Environment is using these initiatives in an effort to help the bloc reach its goal of 3 million chargers projected to be needed by 2030.

However, similarly to the U.S., these actions by the EU may ultimately fall short of meeting expected demand. The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association has suggested a need for close to 7 million chargers by the end of the decade, requiring an investment of over $300 billion.

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[JACK AYLMER]

CHINA LEADS THE WORLD WHEN IT COMES TO EV ADOPTION, SO IT SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE THEY ALSO OUTPACE OTHER COUNTRIES IN CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE. 

THE PRC CURRENTLY HAS AROUND $2.3 MILLION ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGERS, ROUGHLY ONE FOR EVERY SEVEN EVS IN THE COUNTRY.

THE EUROPEAN UNION COMES IN AT A DISTANCE SECOND – WITH ROUGHLY HALF A MILLION CHARGES ACROSS ITS MEMBER STATES.

ONE FOR EVERY TEN VEHICLES.

AND AS FOR THE U.S.?

WE’VE CURRENTLY GOT AROUND 130,000.

THE MATH BREAKS DOWN TO ABOUT ONE CHARGER FOR EVERY 18 CARS. 

IT’S NOT JUST QUANTITY WHERE CHINA HAS US BEAT BUT QUALITY TOO. 

ON AVERAGE, CHARGING PORTS IN THE U.S. AND E.U. GENERATE A LITTLE OVER ONE KILOWATT PER EV, WHILE CHINESE DRIVERS GET NEARLY FOUR KILOWATTS PER EV.

THAT DIFFERENCE IN ENERGY IS EQUAL TO POWERING ABOUT 17 STANDARD LIGHT BULBS VERSUS 67 OF THEM.

IN TOTAL, ALMOST TWO-THIRDS OF THE WORLD’S PUBLIC EV CHARGERS RESIDE IN CHINA, INCLUDING THE LARGEST CHARGING STATION ON THE PLANET.

HOWEVER, THERE ARE PLANS IN BOTH THE U.S. AND EUROPE TO MAKE UP SOME GROUND.

THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION WANTS TO INSTALL HALF A MILLION CHARGERS BY THE END OF THE DECADE, PUTTING $7.5 BILLION DOLLARS TOWARDS THE EFFORT.

IT MAY BE JUST A FRACTION OF WHAT WILL ACTUALLY BE NEEDED IN THE STATES.

THE NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY LAB ESTIMATES THAT IN ORDER TO MEET ANTICIPATED CHARGING NEEDS BY 2030, AN INVESTMENT OF BETWEEN $31 AND $55 BILLION DOLLARS WILL BE NEEDED.

AS FOR THE EU – A NEW LAW AIMS TO BLANKET ITS HIGHWAYS WITH EV CHARGERS, MANDATING THEY BE INSTALLED EVERY THIRTY SEVEN MILES ALONG THE TRANS-EUROPEAN TRANSPORT NETWORK, THE CONTINENT’S MAIN TRANSPORTATION CORRIDOR.

THE EUROPEAN FEDERATION FOR TRANSPORT AND ENVIRONMENT HOPES THIS AND OTHER INITIATIVES WILL HELP THE BLOC REACH THREE MILLION CHARGERS PROJECTED TO BE NEEDED BY 2030.

BUT, AS WITH THE U.S., THOSE PLANS MAY NOT RESULT IN ENOUGH CHARGERS TO MEET ANTICIPATED DEMAND.

THE EUROPEAN AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURERS’ ASSOCIATION BELIEVES CLOSE TO SEVEN MILLION CHARGERS WILL BE NEEDED BY THAT DATE.