Revving Up: Electric Car Infrastructure Challenges in China

5 Apr 2023 5 mins to read
The rise of electric vehicles could help curb pollution levels and reduce our carbon footprint. However, companies attempting to scale up EV infrastructure must contend with a variety of challenges in different markets. In developing countries like China, which has one of the largest transportation sectors worldwide, the challenges are even more significant.
Revving Up: Electric Car Infrastructure Challenges in China

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the biggest hurdles faced by the EV industry in China and how they're being addressed.

The Problem:

China's air pollution problem is well-documented, with cities often experiencing unprecedented smog levels. With a total vehicle ownership of almost 300 million, the country’s transport system is a significant contributor to air pollution levels. As a result, the Chinese government is encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles to reduce harmful emissions. However, the adoption of EVs in China is faced with many challenges.


  • Residential charging: Due to the lack of off-street parking facilities, residents face difficulties finding charging stations. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 90% of households in the country do not have access to private parking spaces, presenting a significant problem for daily EV usage.
  • Public charging: Current publicly accessible charging stations present many challenges, including limited facilities, expensive installations, and lower charging speeds compared to more mature markets.
  • Inconsistent & Fragmented Networks: State Grid, the largest utility company in the country, dominates charging infrastructure with nearly 70% of all charging points installed. This presents issues of network standards and inconsistent charging speeds, limiting consumer choice and freedom to travel.

Range anxiety:

  • While the EV market has made significant progress, vehicles' range and cost remain barriers to mass adoption.
  • Consumers are hesitant about buying an EV due to the limited distance that EVs can travel on a single charge, and they experience “Range Anxiety” (the fear of running out of charge during a journey).
  • Developing charging infrastructure capable of supporting a mass fleet of electric vehicles is essential for increased consumer confidence and uptake of EVs in China.

Market and Regulatory Environment:

  • Although China is the world’s largest EV market, regulatory challenges remain. The government places varied restrictions on locally manufactured and imported vehicles. Additionally, subsidies have changed frequently over the years, resulting in market uncertainty and making it difficult for foreign manufacturers to predict demand.
  • The Chinese government is looking to rectify these issues through increased infrastructure investment and regulatory enforcement, including subsidies and supporting foreign EV manufacturing as well.

The Solution:

Despite these challenges, there are reasons for cautious optimism. While existing infrastructure is relatively limited, China is quickly ramping up its EV infrastructure push to address hurdles for long-term sustainability. To address these challenges, the country is prioritizing the following measures:

Increased charging network:

  • Continued expansion of public charging networks, with pilots of several projects underway, most notably from State Grid with ambitious targets to add over 600,000 charging points this year alone. This expanded network aims to alleviate the residential and public charging hurdles mentioned above.
  • The installation of ultra-fast charging stations, capable of 120-350 kW, that charge an EV in minutes, improves charging point speeds, and supports expanding range demands.

Regulatory measures:

  • The central government's efforts to support the EV industry through national subsidy programs, tax credits, and investment in research and development in battery technology. In 2019, the NDRC pledged RMB 100 billion (~$14.5 billion) to further support the EV industry in China.
  • Implementation of the new energy vehicle (NEV) quota system from 2019, under which automakers operating in China must generate NEV credits equivalent to 10% of their annual sales. Failure to meet targets results in monetary penalties transferable as NEV credits. This measure is incentivizing automakers to ramp-up EV development and production efforts in the country.


  • Competition amongst charging infrastructure providers has finally increased, with private enterprises entering the market to supplement state-backed networks, promoting more rapid expansion. For example, EVgo, America's largest EV fast-charging network, announced a partnership with China's state-owned Guotou to expand access to public fast-charging in China.

The Takeaway:

China is swiftly advancing toward becoming a leader in the EV manufacturing and adoption space. However, establishing a robust and sustainable EV infrastructure remains a significant challenge. Public-private partnerships and government initiatives aimed at increasing charging networks, improving technology, and increasing competition are essential to accelerate the integration of EVs into the transportation mix in China.

Although there are still several issues that need to be addressed, we see the potential for the EV market to thrive in China. As charging infrastructure and battery technology continue to improve alongside regulatory incentives, the industry's future looks promising.

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Add comment

It's great to see more companies switching to electric fleets for their delivery vehicles
I heard they're investing billions to build hundreds of charging stations. Anybody know if that's true?
It's about time China caught up with the rest of the world. How long do you think it'll take?
I don't trust electric cars anyway. What if they run out of juice in the middle of nowhere?
Nah, I don't think so. They're too expensive and not everyone has access to charging stations.
I've been considering buying an electric car myself. Any recommendations?
I hope so! It's about time we start seeing some serious progress in the fight against climate change.
China needs to step up their game if they want to compete with the likes of California and Europe. Can they do it?
I heard BYD's Tang SUV is pretty sweet too. And it's made in China.
Tesla Model 3 all the way, baby! Best car on the market.
Keena Carrousal5/11/2023, 10:35:59 AM
Could be! They have an advantage in that they can start from scratch, unlike other countries with existing infrastructure.
Dude, that's why they're building all these charging stations. Keep up.
Yo, China's electric car infrastructure needs a major upgrade. How are they gonna handle the demand?
Definitely the Rimac C_Two. That thing is a beast!
Annika Spielvogel4/27/2023, 6:30:51 PM
I just hope that electric cars won't be as boring and soulless as some people say they are. Thoughts?

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Energy5 EV Charging solutions comprise a full range of end-to-end turnkey services for businesses. From permitting to incentive acquisition to installation, management software, and down-the-road maintenance, Energy5 streamlines the whole process every step of the way.
300 W Somerdale Rd, Suite 5, Voorhees Township, NJ 08043
Email address
Phone number
(856) 412-4645