The Chinese government has approved an action plan to push for the buildup of charging infrastructure across the country, a move Beijing says will step up the adoption of electric vehicles especially in the country’s vast rural regions, state broadcaster CCTV has reported.

Why it matters: The plan could pave the way for a sales boost of green energy cars in Chinese lower-tier cities and rural areas where EV penetration has so far remained low, according to Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).

  • China’s countryside is expected to provide a new source of growth for what is already the world’s biggest EV market, Cui wrote in a May 7 article (in Chinese). Less than 20% of new car sales were EVs in small-sized Chinese cities and towns in March, compared with 34% in first-tier cities, official figures showed.

Details: The plan will adopt a “forward-thinking and moderately progressive” (our translation) strategy to scale up the number of charging stations for EVs across the country, state broadcaster CCTV reported on May 5, citing a meeting of China’s top executive body, the State Council.

  • The cabinet said it would also release measures that would facilitate businesses’ expansion of their EV sales and service networks in less developed regions, as well as boost the training of technical workers for EV maintenance from vocational schools.
  • The Council said these efforts would allow it to step up its focus on removing the major bottleneck for EV popularity in rural areas. Policymakers expect a nationwide charging network to sustain at least 20 million EVs traveling on Chinese roads by 2025.

Context: China’s EV market has seen slower growth this year, after being partly disrupted by a major price war amid fierce competition and Beijing’s scrapping subsidies for EV purchases in December.

  • Sales of new energy passenger vehicles, mainly all-electric cars and plug-in hybrids, increased 22.4% year-on-year to 1.3 million units during the first three months of 2023, significantly slower than the 93.4% growth last year, CPCA data shows.
  • China operated an EV infrastructure network of more than 1.9 million public chargers as of March, of which nearly 60% were less powerful AC chargers with the rest being DC ones, according to figures from the Chinese Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Agency.
  • Multiple automakers have pledged to expand their EV charging networks. Nio and Xpeng Motors have set goals of making 2,300 swap stations and 500 fast charging stations available nationwide this year, respectively, while Li Auto opened its first batch of charging facilities last month.

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: or Twitter: @jill_shen_sh