Nio and Xpeng Motors are joining forces to expand their vehicle charging networks in a bid to address a vulnerability in electric car adoption as struggling Chinese automakers look to boost growth.
Why it matters: The collaboration—aimed at widening the charging pile network—highlights a lack of support for the EV industry from China’s slow pace of public charging facility construction. Low charging facility penetration rates is seen as a significant barrier for EV purchases.
- China on Tuesday reported a mere 3.6% monthly increase in November for its EV infrastructure network with a total of 496,000 public charging piles.
- The number of new charging facilities in November rose 45% compared with the number in January, according to figures from Chinese Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Agency (EVCIPA).
- Growth in China’s charging station network has slowed to around 50% year on year over the past three years, after a short-lived surge in 2016 when the number of charging piles doubled to more than 150,000.
Details: Nio’s recharging service Nio Power and Xpeng Motors have signed an agreement to share their country-wide networks and connect payment processing systems to enhance user experience, the two companies said on Wednesday.
- Xpeng will “gradually” integrate its charging network and payment system with Nio Power, and car owners across the two brands will be able to access to one another’s supercharging piles across the country using the mobile apps for each carmaker, according to the plan. The two companies have not revealed a specific timeframe.
- Nio Power will also become one of the suppliers to offer Xpeng customers charging pile home installation services, for which the Xiaomi-backed EV maker currently charges no fee.
Context: Rather than independently building out charging infrastructure, Chinese electric vehicle makers are collaborating to expand the power network amid a prolonged slump in the world’s biggest auto market.
- Following full integration of the two charging networks, Nio said that more than 90% of China’s fast charging facilities will be available to its customers, around 180,000 charging piles. Owners of non-Nio cars accounted for 55% of all Nio’s charging map users, company president Qin Lihong said in August.
- A Xpeng spokeswoman said it is running nearly 200 supercharging stations in around 30 Chinese domestic cities, following a partnership with China’s largest charging network TELD in October. Nio did not disclose the number of supercharging stations in its network when contacted by TechNode on Wednesday.