The Chinese province of Guangdong now has more EV charging stations than the entire United States combined. The coastal province has added hundreds of thousands of charging stations in the last few years, as Bloomberg reports. And now that China is on a charging station install spree, Guangdong has accrued close to 372,000 charging locations, which is over three times as many as in the U.S., where public EV stations number 112,900.
The charging stations in Guangdong include public chargers, shared private chargers and larger charging stations that can accommodate multiple EVs at once. While EV companies like Tesla and Nio have installed some of the new chargers in the coastal Chinese province, the majority of them have been built by small utility operators, and electric companies that are owned by the state.
Guangdong Province is a major economic hub in China, which sits on the country’s southern coast just north of Hong Kong and Macau. It’s the most densely populated province in the country with little over 126 million people living in 21 prefectures, which are scattered across an area of 69,400 square miles. For reference, that’s less than one third the total land mass of Texas, and yet it’s about four times as many people, since the population of the Lone Star State is roughly 29.1 million.
Meaning, Guangdong Province isn’t exactly what you could call provincial. At least not in the way the word is used at times to contrast a capital city, or seat of power, to its surrounding (often rural) areas. Guangdong is another example of the urgency with which China is moving towards EVs, even when compared to other provinces: it has more public charging stations than its next three leading provinces combined — Jiangsu, Shanghai and Zhejiang, per Bloomberg.
The charging network in Gunagdong is the largest in China, but the country is adding more and more stations every year; in the last year alone, China added 592,000 public chargers, which Bloomberg says is more than the Biden administration wants up and running in the U.S. by 2030. China’s goal is to have enough charging stations for 20 million EVs by 2025. That’s, uh, quick. Imagine what our EV infrastructure would be like if the U.S. added about 600,000 chargers ever year for the next three years.
But imagine is all we can do for now. Meanwhile drivers in Guangdong don’t have to imagine; they’re living it. Automotive analysts from China claim there are so many EV chargers, that their number is no longer the problem.
Now, the issue is charging times, which are still long compared to refilling a car with gas. But EV stations are so plentiful and easy to find in Guangdong that “no one worries about charging anymore,” as one driver put it. The availability of EV stations is mostly a forgotten issue, and EV sales in Guangdong jumped by 151 percent in the first half of 2022.