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EV Charging Trends in the United States and China

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China’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure is yet another symbol of the country’s plan to be economically dominant and a center of excellence and innovation for the electrification of transportation. Some fast facts that would catch many by surprise about China and EVs include:


  • China has spent more than $30 billion subsidizing EV sales
  • China Accounts for more than half of global EV sales
  • China has 466,101 public charging ports as of October 2019
  • China has 8 EV charging ports for every 1 port in the United States 

There are both strong parallels to the EV market in the United States and some major differences. Both the United States and China have spent huge federal dollars subsidizing electric vehicles purchases, and both countries are expecting a slump in sales, albeit temporary, when subsidies are rolled back (in China, the overall car market has had declining sales in 15 of the last 16 months).  In the United States, federal EV tax credits are influenced by a tax credit cap where manufacturers that achieve 200,000 lifetime EVs sold  have a reduced federal tax credit on future sales. Both Tesla and General Motors are in this status where buyers of EVs from both firms will receive a maximum one-quarter credit of $1,875 for purchases made between July 1st 2019 and December 31st 2019. China has had generous subsidies as well and while they’re being pared down, the country will continue to exempt the 10 percent purchase tax on new-energy vehicles through 2020 at least.

But at the end of the day, EVs are only as effective as the grid they charge on and their access to charge points. China has 8 public chargers for every one charger in the United States according to Bloomberg News, and is considering a proposal for 60% of all automobiles sold in 2035 to be electric. In the same vein the United States is proposing a Zero Emission Vehicle Act of 2019 in the House and Senate whereby 50% of new passenger vehicles sales in the US would be mandated as zero emissions by 2030.

(Chart Above - Bloomberg News) 

The charging port picture is even more eye-opening on a regional basis. Provinces like Jiangsu Guangdong and Beijing have over 150,000 charging ports combined whereas America’s EV haven of California with the largest number of charging ports in the country only has 19,065. Of course population differences between both countries are stark but China and the United States have been pushing hard on EVs and making them a priority in both transportation plans and energy efficiency initiatives and it will be fascinating to watch the expansion of charging infrastructure in both places. 

Other key differences between both nations are that China has one nationwide EV fast charging standard whereas the United States has three in the form of CHAdeMO, CCS SAE Combo and Tesla. When it comes to managed  charging, the United States seems to have taken the lead on managed charging pilot programs that are becoming more prevalent at progressive utilities across the nation. Let us know if you have experience or examples of managed charging programs and research that utilities in China are carrying out on how best to integrate electric vehicles onto the grid.


Areg Bagdasarian's picture

Thank Areg for the Post!

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 13, 2019 12:19 pm GMT

United States has three in the form of CHAdeMO, CCS SAE Combo and Tesla. 

Is this a positive or a negative? On the plus it allows for more options for the automakers and car buyers, but on the negative it can be frustrating for EV owners to find the plugs that are specifically compatible with their car if they have the 'wrong' one

Areg Bagdasarian's picture
Areg Bagdasarian on Nov 15, 2019 2:56 am GMT

Hi Matt, I think it's defininitely a positive for companies that make adapters but frustrating for drivers who, for example have a non-Tesla and are in close proximity to a Tesla only charging station and are unable to charge there. Of course it's a competitive advantage for a Tesla to have a proprietary network of superchargers that are part of the Tesla only ecosystem. 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 15, 2019 1:22 pm GMT

I was unaware adapters exist-- are these such that I have take my CCS SAE car and use an adapter to plug into a CHAdeMO?

Chandana Sasidharan's picture
Chandana Sasidharan on Nov 19, 2019 3:15 pm GMT

Thanks Areg. Great insights and comparison. I work in electric mobility in India, and we often draw parallels with China. 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 19, 2019 5:09 pm GMT

I'm interested to hear about those parallels, which seem to be somewhat obvious in some respects, but also if there are any notable differences that are making the job you're doing in India unique when compared with the Chinese efforts?

Areg Bagdasarian's picture
Areg Bagdasarian on Nov 20, 2019 5:06 am GMT

Definitely would like to learn more about managed charging if its happening in India and parallels to China / U.S.

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