China's biggest EV charging network expects to end losses

Automotive News Europe

Automotive News | 2018-12-21

China¡¯s largest vehicle charging-network builder expects to break even this year as rising use of its poles in major cities starts to generate income.

Qingdao Tgood Electric Co. Chairman Yu Dexiang said by email that the company is already profitable in major cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. That would be a reversal after losing about 500 million yuan ($72 million) on the charging network business in the two years ended in 2017, he said.

Adoption of electric vehicles is a key goal of China¡¯s government, which is subsidizing their purchases as a way to cut smog and oil imports. Construction of the charging network should accelerate, Yu said, to accommodate demand in a country where annual electric vehicle sales surpassed 1 million for the first time this year.

¡°The biggest challenge for the development of electric cars is the bottleneck on charging facilities,¡± said Yu. ¡°We need to speed up construction of such a network and make the layout reasonable.¡±

Yu has expanded the company over five years from an electrical transformer maker to include a charging network builder and operator that controls about 41 percent of China¡¯s charging poles. He expects faster growth over the coming three to five years, as electric vehicles become easier to charge and more popular.

China aims to have 4.8 million charging poles set up by end of 2020, when new-energy vehicles in use is expected to reach 5 million units.

Public and private charging poles in China rose 80 percent from a year earlier to 728,000 units as of November, which compares with a total of 1.78 million new energy vehicles in use by end of September, according to the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance and the Ministry of Public Security.

Tgood, which cooperates with carmakers such as Tesla Inc., Volkswagen AG and Nio Inc., is developing a network that will provide balanced power by allowing plugged in cars to charge or discharge power as needed to balance supply and demand, said Yu.

The project may take about five years to complete, he said. With about 100 million new-energy vehicles in use by 2030, the charging-pole manufacturing business would become a market of 2 trillion yuan, Yu estimated.

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