Charging up China’s transition to electric vehicles: A dive into China’s public charging infrastructure deployment and comparison with Europe and the United States
China is a global leader in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), but insufficient charging access remains a major challenge. This report examines the number, coverage, capacity, and utilization of public chargers in China in comparison with Europe and the United States and offers recommendations for the country to expand and improve its charging infrastructure.
This report finds that China’s public charger infrastructure network is the largest in the world, with over 1 million chargers—51% of the global total – and a total power capacity of 56 gigawatts as of 2022. Public chargers in China are disproportionately concentrated in developed cities, however, with the top 15 cities accounting for 57% of the country’s total public charger stock. Highways are a particular weak spot—China’s highway public charger density is significantly lower than countries like Norway. Several Chinese cities have established widely-distributed public charging networks in their urban cores while public charger coverage in suburban and rural areas is much lower in comparison. Meanwhile, public chargers in urban cores of leading cities have high utilization rates, but citywide averages are still low. To expand and improve its public charging infrastructure network, China could consider adopting new metrics to assess charger deployment and usage, developing localized charger deployment plans based on data-driven charging needs assessments, targeting planning and investment toward low-coverage areas, and improving the quality and comprehensiveness of charger data through establishing an official national database to enable more in-depth analysis to support policy design.