Just a decade ago, there were fewer than 30,000 public chargers in all of China; now, hundreds of thousands of are being built every year.
Even by the standards of Chinese infrastructure growth, it's a fast turn. China's electric vehicle charging alliance recently reported that in 2022, 650,000 public chargers were built, bringing China to a total of 1.8 million. In Guangdong province alone, there are 383,000; that's more than double the number of public chargers in the entire United States.
China also installed 2.6 million private home chargers last year — but it's the increasingly dense network of public charging stations that's a game changer for China's EV drivers, given that more than 900 million people live in urban areas. Most of these people don't live in single-family homes, and many lack their own parking spot, so installing a home charger is out of the question.
The country is leading the charge, so to speak, by another key metric: the speed of charging. Conventional car drivers typically need only five minutes to fill their gas tanks; for electric cars to break through, it's critical for companies to cut down charging time as much as possible. Within China's public charging fleet, 40 percent are "fast chargers" — well above the share in other countries. The speed varies, but at the top end, these chargers allow you to be on your way again after just 20 minutes, as opposed to charging overnight on a slow charger.
Again, that's especially important in China. Wang, an EV owner in Beijing who asked for partial anonymity, told Grid he doesn't have a home parking spot, so he relies on fast chargers in his neighborhood to recharge every couple of weeks. He's found a fast charger in a mall near the mountains outside the city to enable his winter routine: snowboarding. "I often drive to the mall and charge a little bit and have lunch, and then in the afternoon, I go to Nanshan," he said, referring to a local resort.
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