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State Grid Electric Vehicle Service Co plans to establish a network of its newly launched small charging piles in major cities this year, in a bid to meet the rising demand of new energy vehicle owners.
The smart charging pile, launched by the subsidiary of State Grid Corp of China on Wednesday, is designed based on the A4 paper size, much smaller than the traditional charging pile. Dubbed "E-elf", it can be hung on or embedded into the wall.
The company aims to install about 200,000 of such smart charging piles in major cities across China by 2020, executives said at the launch ceremony.
Shen Jianxin, general manager of State Grid Electric Vehicle Service Co, said the move is to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for charging EVs in residential areas.
"The small-sized charging facility can easily be set up even in old residential areas, where the environment is not suitable for traditional piles," Shen said.
"The new products can also simplify the charging procedure. For example, users can locate available piles through a mobile application and pay fees online," Shen said.
The company has started reaching out to property management companies and real estate developers for cooperation, Shen said.
The move came amid China's enhanced efforts to significantly improve its charging technologies and facilities within three years. The country aims to optimize its charging infrastructure to give the new energy vehicle sector a boost.
Key undertakings identified in the action plan, issued by the government in December, include enhancing charging technologies and operational efficiency, optimizing facility layout, and improving the industry's standard system.
Having adopted various incentives, China had more than 600,000 traditional charging piles as of 2018. But data showed the infrastructure is still insufficient.
The total number of electric cars in China amounted to 2.61 million last year, which was up by 70 percent or more than a million cars from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
Liu Huiwen, director of charging service unit with State Grid Electric Vehicle Service Co, said: "In the first half of 2019, pilot projects will be promoted in municipalities and provinces like Beijing, Shanghai and Zhejiang province. In the second half of the year, the products will be promoted nationwide."
Liu said the company is responsible for the installation and maintenance of the smart piles, while users need to buy cables that may be priced at hundreds of yuan.
"We are also seeking cooperation with automakers and garages. They may consider offering the cables to car owners for free," Liu said.
Huang Shouhong, an analyst at Essence Securities, said charging infrastructure is one of the indispensable foundations for new energy vehicles. The optimized charging infrastructure will ensure the healthy development of the EV sector, Huang said in a research note.
@ Jing Shuiyu | China Daily
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