China is looking to make travel a little easier for those using electric vehicles to drive throughout the country. Representatives from the State Grid Corporation of China recently announced that they want to establish a network of over 120,000 public charging stations for EVs by 2020.
"Starting 2020, electric cars are likely to go beyond their nature as vehicles, and become a basic unit of the energy system," said Jiang Bing, SGCC chairman.
The network would service the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei-Shandong and Yangtze River Delta cities. It would also expand to major cities throughout other heavily populated regions in the country.
Last year, the State Grid's EV Service Company installed 10,000 charging parking areas in residential areas. However, those parking spaces were only found in massive communities like Beijing and Shangai, according to Jiang.
China currently holds the world's largest and most promising electric vehicle industry. Last year alone, the country saw more than 490,000 EV sales in just the first 11 months. When total sales come in for the Q4, the sales from 2017 are expected to exceed 577,000 units, according to the ESG Forum. The network is also going to be connected with 19 pile operators and will include 170,000 charging piles when it's all said and done to service over 800,000 EV owners, according to the initial government announcement.
The country has struggled with the image of having some of the highest pollution rates in recent history, but by taking the lead in electric vehicles, many leaders hope that China can become a global innovator in reducing carbon emissions via transportation. China is clearly outperforming the United States in this initiative as well. As of November 2017, the US had just 16,541 public EV charging stations and over 45,000 individual charging outlets. China also stands as the global leader in sales volume, surpassing Europe by over 8,000 units and beating out the US by over 6,500 units.
Slowly, more countries are coming around to reconfiguring their infrastructure to support electric vehicles. Another recent addition to the EV charging station increase came from PG&E. The company said it would add 7,500 charging stations throughout northern and central California and partner with local business customers. And, according to Max Baumhefner, a San Francisco-based activist with the National Resources Defense Council, this is only the start of more charging stations to come.
"These programs will be soon followed by 15 different pilots that were recently approved by the state Public Utilities Commission and which target cars, trucks, buses, cranes, airport equipment, forklifts and other things that move," Baumhefner wrote in the blog post.