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State Grid unit and BAIC to build EV facilities

By ZHENG YIRAN | China Daily | Updated: 2020-07-28 07:12

A visitor tries out a new energy vehicle developed by BAIC Group during an industry expo in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province. [Photo/CHEN GANG FOR CHINA DAILY]

State Grid Electric Vehicle Service Co Ltd, a fully owned unit of State-owned electricity utility State Grid, has forged an agreement with carmaker BAIC Group to further cooperation on electric vehicle support facilities and help the energy and transportation industry's economic revival efforts.

The two sides will strengthen cooperation in building EV charging piles and battery-replacement stations, EV sales, battery energy packs, green energy transactions and smart energy, according to company officials.

Quan Shengming, chairman of State Grid EV Service, said: "As a supporting and key link for the EV industry, charging facilities have a direct influence on industrial development.

"This year's Government Work Report has highlighted the need for accelerating the process of building 'new infrastructure' including charging piles and battery-replacement stations, and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is expected to introduce guidelines to support the EV battery replacement mode."

The EV battery replacement mode directly replaces an EV's used battery with a new one, instead of charging the used battery.

The two sides will give full play to their own advantages, to boost car sales and battery rentals, and offer battery-charging services that are as convenient as car refueling, he said.

"We will cooperate on innovations in business modes," said Xu Heyi, chairman of BAIC Group.

State Grid EV Service said EV battery-replacement stations in Ji'nan and Qingdao in Shandong province, jointly built by the two companies, commenced operations on Monday.

Chen Kelong, a ministry official, said: "China is leading the electrification transformation of the global automobile industry, with its EV production and sales ranking first for five consecutive years. Due to the COVID-19, in the first six months, China's EV production and sales lagged that of petrol vehicles. However, EV production and sales have started picking up gradually. In June, EV production and sales increased by 21.4 percent and 26.8 percent on a monthly basis."

The development of the industry is closely related to the charging and battery-replacement facilities. Research showed that currently, the convenience of EV charging and battery replacement is a key factor for EV purchases. Therefore, efforts in the sector are needed, he said.

Data from the National Energy Administration showed that by the end of June, China had established 1.32 million charging piles and 120 battery-replacement stations, the largest EV charging and battery replacement network in the world.

"The cooperation between State Grid EV Service and BAIC Group explores battery-replacement mode, and effectively improves grid operation efficiency," said Huang Xuenong, director of the electricity department of the NEA.

According to State Grid EV Service, during the first six months of this year, it has launched all of its charging facility construction projects, which involve 78,000 charging piles. These charging piles are expected to be operational by the end of the year.

State Grid's smart car network has till now connected 658,500 charging piles and plans to have 1 million piles operational by the end of this year, said the company.

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