With the start of China’s Lunar New Year, much of China made journeys to visit family and friends, many of these journeys were made in an electric vehicle. Subsequently, China’s charging networks saw extremely high demand. In Hubei, Hunan, and Jiangsu Provinces portable charging stations were deployed following near saturation of their charging networks. More widely, the state grid platform saw an 80% year-on-year increase of charging volume, whilst Southern Power Grid’s charging saw a 70% year-on-year increase. Similarly, NIO logged a record number of battery swaps over the festive period.

Emergency charging units deployed to cope with increased usage

The Wuhan State Power Company in Hubei Province deployed 20 additional mobile charging ‘robots’, equipped with 60kW fast chargers, able to provide charging for 6-7 vehicles when fully charged. The deployment of the robots followed 13 charging stations at Wuhan motorway services being essentially saturated. Charging volume at Wuhan motorway services surpassed 200MWh, serving more than 10,000 vehicles over the Spring Festival.

Elsewhere, in Hunan Province three mobile charging stations and ten mobile charging vehicles were deployed in key service areas. In Jiangsu Province 16 mobile charging vehicles and 54 emergency charging connectors were deployed in high usage areas. Additionally, both Sichuan Province and Ningxia, deployed emergency charging stations, whilst Beijing and Jiangxi conducted pre- holiday checks and had additional service people working to ensure all the chargers were continually working.

Grid output for charging increases dramatically from previous years

From the 10th-17th February charging volume on the State Grid’s charging service platform reached 143.64GWh, a year-on-year increase of 35.71%. Of the total figure, 44.2GWh was recorded as charging on motorways, an 80% increase from last year. The Southern Power Grid charging platform exceeded 35GWh of charging volume, a 70% increase from the same period last year. In total, Southern Power Grid estimated it served a total of 1.5 million customers.

NIO battery swapping stations in frequent use

From the 8th to the 18th of February, NIO customers completed 308,000 battery swaps, a threefold increase on the same period last year. Additionally, battery pack upgrades, to larger capacity packs, were used over 20,000 times aiding customers to complete longer journeys.

Rho’s Evaluation

China’s EV environment is the most mature globally, however in times of high use its charging networks still come under stress. In 2023, China’s passenger car EV sales reached 7.8 million units, up from 6.1 million units in 2022. With EV sales forecast to continually increase, it is essential that charging infrastructure is also installed at a rate that equals EV penetration to ensure both short- and long-range usability. However, it is evident that provinces were prepared for the additional stress on charging networks during this holiday period.

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