• Linyi Jincheng
  • Linyi Jincheng

Outlet of charging pile: good wind depends on strength

Outlet of charging pile1 (1)

The “going out” of the upstream and downstream enterprises of China’s new energy automobile industry chain has become the highlight of market growth. Under such a background, charging pile enterprises are accelerating the layout of overseas markets.

A few days ago, some media reported such a news. The latest cross-border index released by Alibaba International Station shows that the overseas business opportunities of new energy vehicle charging piles have increased by 245% in the past year, and there is nearly three times the demand space in the future, which will become a new opportunity for domestic enterprises.

In fact, in the beginning of 2023, with the changes of relevant policies in overseas markets, the export of new energy vehicle charging piles faces new opportunities and challenges.

Demand gap but policy variable

At present, the strong demand for charging piles is mainly due to the rapid popularization of new energy vehicles worldwide. Statistics show that in 2022, the global sales of new energy vehicles reached 10.824 million, up 61.6% year on year. From the perspective of the overseas new energy vehicle market alone, while the policy helps promote the whole vehicle, there is a huge demand gap for charging piles, especially in Europe and the United States, where domestic enterprises export more.

Not long ago, the European Parliament just passed the bill to stop the sale of fuel engine vehicles in Europe in 2035. This also means that the increase in the sales of new energy vehicles in Europe will certainly drive the growth of the demand for charging piles. The research institute predicts that in the next 10 years, the European new energy vehicle charging pile market will increase from 5 billion euros in 2021 to 15 billion euros. De Mayo, president of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, said that the installation progress of electric vehicle charging piles in EU member countries was “far from enough”. To support the transformation of the automobile industry to electrification, 14000 charging piles need to be added every week, while the actual number at this stage is only 2000.

Recently, the promotion policy of new energy vehicles in the United States has also become “radical”. According to the plan, by 2030, the share of electric vehicles in the sales of new cars in the United States will reach at least 50%, and 500000 charging piles will be equipped. To this end, the US government plans to invest US $7.5 billion in the field of electric vehicle charging facilities. It is worth noting that the penetration rate of electric vehicles in the United States is less than 10%, and the broad market growth space provides a development opportunity for domestic charging pile enterprises.

However, the US government recently announced a new standard for the construction of electric vehicle charging pile network. All charging piles subsidized by the US Infrastructure Act shall be produced locally and the documents shall take effect immediately. At the same time, relevant enterprises must adopt the main charging connector standard of the United States, namely “Combined Charging System” (CCS).

Such policy changes affect many charging pile enterprises that are preparing for and have developed overseas markets. Therefore, many charging pile enterprises have received inquiries from investors. Shuangjie Electric said on the investor interaction platform that the company has a full range of AC charging piles, DC chargers and other products, and has obtained the supplier qualification of State Grid Corporation. At present, charging pile products have been exported to Saudi Arabia, India and other countries and regions, and will be further promoted to further expand overseas markets.

For the new requirements put forward by the United States government, domestic charging pile enterprises with export business have already made a certain prediction. The relevant person of Shenzhen Daotong Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Daotong Technology”) told the reporter that the impact of the New Deal of the United States had been taken into account when setting the sales target for 2023, so its impact on the company was small. It is reported that Daotong Technology has planned to build a factory in the United States. It is expected that the new factory will be completed and put into operation in 2023. At present, the project is progressing smoothly.

Profit “blue ocean” with difficulty in development

It is understood that the demand for charging piles on Alibaba International Station mainly comes from the European and American markets, among which the UK, Germany, Ireland, the United States and New Zealand are the top five countries in terms of the popularity of charging pile search. In addition, the cross-border index of Alibaba International Station also shows that the overseas buyers of domestic charging piles are mainly local wholesalers, accounting for about 30%; Construction contractors and property developers each account for 20%.

A person related to Daotong Technology told the reporter that at present, its charging pile orders in the North American market mainly come from local commercial customers, and government subsidy projects account for a relatively small proportion. However, in the long run, policy restrictions will gradually become stricter, especially for the requirements of American manufacturing.

The domestic charging pile market is already a “red sea”, and the overseas “blue sea” means the possibility of higher profit margin. It is reported that the infrastructure development of new energy vehicles in the European and American markets is later than that in the domestic market. The competition pattern is relatively concentrated, and the gross profit margin of products is significantly higher than that in the domestic market. An industry person who didn’t want to be named told the reporter: “module-pile integration enterprises can achieve a gross profit rate of 30% in the domestic market, which is generally 50% in the U.S. market, and the gross profit rate of some DC piles is even as high as 60%. Considering the factors of contract manufacturing in the United States, it is expected that there will still be a gross profit rate of 35% to 40%. In addition, the unit price of charging piles in the United States is far higher than that in the domestic market, which can completely guarantee profits.”

However, in order to seize the “dividend” of the overseas market, domestic charging pile enterprises still need to meet the requirements of American standard certification, control the quality in design, seize the commanding point with product performance, and win favor with cost advantage. At present, in the US market, most Chinese charging pile enterprises are still in the development and certification period. A charging pile practitioner told the reporter: “It is difficult to pass the American standard certification of charging piles, and the cost is high. In addition, all networked equipment must pass the FCC (Federal Communications Commission of the United States) certification, and the relevant departments of the United States are very strict about this’ card ‘.”

Wang Lin, director of overseas market of Shenzhen Yipule Technology Co., Ltd., said that the company has experienced many challenges in developing overseas markets. For example, it needs to adapt to different models and meet different standards and regulations; It is necessary to study and judge the development of electricity and new energy in the target market; It is necessary to improve the network security requirements year by year based on the development background of the Internet of Things.

According to the reporter, at present, one of the difficulties faced by domestic charging pile enterprises in “going out” is software, which needs to meet the needs of ensuring user payment security, information security, vehicle charging security and improving experience.

“In China, the application of charging infrastructure has been fully verified and can play a leading role in the global market.” Yang Xi, a senior expert and independent observer in the electric vehicle charging pile industry, told reporters, “Although countries or regions attach different importance to the construction of charging infrastructure, the lack of capacity of charging piles and related equipment is an indisputable fact. The complete domestic new energy vehicle industry chain can well supplement this part of the market gap.”

Model innovation and digital channels

In the domestic charging pile industry, the majority of small and medium-sized enterprises. However, for new foreign trade demand such as charging piles, there are fewer traditional procurement channels, so the use proportion of digitalization will be higher. The reporter learned that Wuhan Hezhi Digital Energy Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Hezhi Digital Energy”) has tried to expand overseas business since 2018, and all online customers come from Alibaba International Station. At present, the company’s products have been sold to more than 50 countries and regions around the world. During the 2022 Qatar World Cup, Wisdom provided 800 sets of electric bus charging equipment to the local area. In view of the bright spot of “going out” of upstream and downstream enterprises in the new energy automobile industry chain, the state should give appropriate preference to small and medium-sized enterprises in policy, which can play a role in boosting.

In Wang Lin’s view, the overseas charging pile market presents three trends: first, the Internet-based service model, with full cooperation between platform providers and operators, highlights the business characteristics of SaaS (software as a service); The second is V2G. Due to the characteristics of overseas distributed energy networks, its prospects are more promising. It can widely apply the vehicle-end power battery to various fields of new energy, including household energy storage, power grid regulation, and power trading; The third is the phased market demand. Compared with AC pile, the growth rate of DC pile market will be more rapid in the next few years.

According to the aforementioned New Deal of the United States, charging pile enterprises or relevant construction parties must meet two conditions to obtain subsidies: first, the charging pile steel/iron shell is produced in the United States and assembled in the United States; second, 55% of the total cost of parts and components are produced in the United States, and the implementation time is after July 2024. In response to this policy, some industry insiders pointed out that in addition to production and assembly, domestic charging pile enterprises can still do high value-added businesses such as design, sales and service, and the final competition is still technology, channels and customers.

Yang Xi believes that the future of the electric vehicle charging pile market in the United States may ultimately be attributed to local enterprises. Non-U.S. enterprises and enterprises that have not yet set up factories in the United States face greater challenges. In his view, localization is still a test for overseas markets outside the United States. From logistics project delivery, to platform operation habits, to financial supervision, Chinese charging pile enterprises must deeply understand local laws, regulations and cultural customs to win business opportunities.

Post time: Mar-07-2023