Date: 2022-04-25 Browse: 51 Form: Guolian Securities

2022 New energy vehicle charging pile industry research: The first year of high voltage fast charging, charging pile to meet the development of new opportunities


1. Charging pile: the cornerstone of the development of new energy vehicles

1.1Acceleration of vehicle electrification drives up charging demand

Charging pile is a device to supplement electric energy to new energy vehicles (including pure electric and plug-in mixed). The function is similar to the refueling machine in the gas station. It can be installed in the highway, office building, shopping mall, public parking lot and residential parking lot and other places, and charge various types of new energy vehicles according to different voltage levels. The rapidly growing market for new energy vehicles has increased the demand for charging piles. According to the data of China Automobile Association and Charging Alliance, by the end of 2021, the number of new energy vehicles in China was 7.84 million, with a year-on-year increase of 59.3%; The number of charging infrastructure in China reached 2.617 million units, with a year-on-year increase of 55.7%. The rapid growth of new energy vehicle market has increased the demand for charging piles. In the future, with the continuous improvement of automobile electrification penetration, the market demand for charging piles will further expand.

Charging volume continues to maintain rapid growth and charging demand accelerates. According to the data of the Charging Alliance, China's total charging power reached 11.15 billion kWh in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 58.0%; The monthly level is significantly higher than that in 2020, and the charging demand for electric vehicles continues to grow rapidly. From the perspective of the distribution area of charging amount, the distribution of charging piles shows the same trend, and Guangdong, Jiangsu and Sichuan lead the whole country. From the point of view of terminal flow, the power flow direction is mainly buses and passenger cars.

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1.2 New infrastructure and steady growth are expected to invigorate the market again

The early charging pile market was dominated 

By the State, with major participants including State Grid and Putian New Energy, while BYD was an early entrant in its own ecological construction. In 2015, the Development Plan for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure (2015-2020) pointed out clear development goals, and a large number of social capital entered the industry to initiate large-scale investment and construction. After 2016, due to the intensified competition, some enterprises quit the market; At the same time, the gap between enterprises is gradually widening.

In the 2020 Government Work Report, charging infrastructure was officially included as one of the seven "new infrastructure" industries. According to the Central Economic Work Conference in 2021, the current economy is faced with the triple pressure of demand contraction, supply shock and weakening expectation. Therefore, we should stick to the principle of stability and strengthen the policy force. As one of the new infrastructure components, charging piles may accelerate the construction pace under the main line of steady growth.

On January 10, 2022, the National Development and Reform Commission, the National Energy Administration and other departments jointly issued the Implementation Opinions of the National Development and Reform Commission and other departments on Further Improving the Service Support Capability of electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure. The domestic new-energy vehicle energy supplement market has basically defined the energy supplement pattern with charging as the main part and electricity replacement as the auxiliary part. By the end of the "14th Five-Year Plan", the charging support capacity of electric vehicles will be further improved, forming a moderately advanced, balanced, intelligent and efficient charging infrastructure system, which can meet the charging demand of more than 20 million electric vehicles. It is expected that the domestic charging pile industry will enter a "mature period" after 2025.

2. Current situation of charging pile industry chain

The upstream of automobile charging pile industry chain is the manufacturing link of charging pile components and equipment; The midstream is the charging operation link, including the construction and operation of charging piles and charging stations; The downstream participants of the industry chain are charging pile users, including new-energy vehicle enterprises and individual consumers. Among them, equipment component manufacturers and charging pile operators are the most important links of the charging pile industry chain.

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Equipment end: Increased investment under new infrastructure, leading a new wave of construction of charging piles

According to different standards, charging piles can be classified into different categories. There are four common classification standards as follows: by charging mode, installation location, installation mode and charging interface, among which the most commonly used ones are by charging mode and installation location. In combination, public charging piles generally adopt DC charging pile, which has large charging power and short charging time. Special pile and private pile generally use AC charging pile, mature technology, low installation cost.


DC charging pile, commonly known as "fast charging" :

high power, fast charging, but complex technology and high cost, suitable for professional centralized operation and maintenance scenes, such as buses, buses, taxis, etc. The DC charging pile completes the transformer rectification through its own AC/DC charging module, and converts the input AC into the DC required by the trolley. The power is usually over 60KW. The newly added DC pile power will reach 131KW in 2020, and it is estimated that the newly installed DC pile power will reach 166KW in 2025. Dc piles have high requirements on the power grid, need to build a private network, and need to prepare harmonic wave suppression devices and other equipment, so most of them are equipped in the centralized charging station, unified management by the operator. Dc pile needs large volume transformer and AC-DC conversion module. The comprehensive cost of 60KW DC pile is about ¥1.13 /W.


AC charging pile

Commonly known as "slow charging" : with mature technology, low barriers and low construction cost, but low charging efficiency, it is suitable for public parking lots, large shopping centers and community garages. Ac piles have low requirements for the transformation of the power grid. The on-board charger (OBC) is required to convert the AC power of the power grid into DC and then charge the car and car battery. Therefore, the charging speed is slow and the full charge usually takes 6~8 hours.

According to the classification of charging mode, the total amount of electric vehicle charging pile is mainly AC charging pile. According to the data of China Charging Alliance, the number of AC piles in China in 2021 will be 2.147 million, and the number of DC piles will be 470,000. According to the classification of charging locations, private piles are mainly AC charging piles, which have relatively low construction cost, small battery loss, and meet the needs of consumers to charge cars when they are idle for a long time. Public piles are equipped with both DC piles and AC piles, and the ratio of public AC piles and DC charging piles remains at about 6:4 in recent years. On the one hand, the construction cost of DC pile is high, resulting in low quantity. On the other hand, the current charging equipment can basically meet the needs of users for planned charging and emergency charging. Therefore, the ratio of 6:4 is in line with current market rationality. However, due to the increase of users' demand for quick charge, it is expected that the proportion of DC quick charge pile will be increased in the next two years.

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Operation side: The business model tends to be diversified, and the improvement of utilization rate is fundamental

Midstream charging pile operation is the core link of the industrial chain. It mainly focuses on the construction and operation of public charging piles. It will generate a large amount of capital expenditure in the early stage, and the payback period is long, which requires the integrity of the capital chain of operators.

Charging pile business model tends to be diversified, absorb social capital to promote the construction

At present, the mainstream business models of charging piles fall into three categories: operator-led model, car-enterprise-led model, and third-party charging service platform led model.


Carrier-dominated mode: The main operating mode at the present stage, with relatively single revenue source, needs to be improved

Operator led mode refers to the operation management mode in which operators independently complete the investment, construction, operation and maintenance of charging pile business and provide charging services for users. It is the main operation mode in the charging pile industry at the present stage. Generally, charging operators have abundant capital and invest a lot in infrastructure such as sites and charging piles in the early stage. Most of the charging piles in charge operator - led mode are public charging piles and special charging piles. Due to fierce competition in the industry and users' sensitivity to charging fees, it is difficult to increase charging service fees. Therefore, charging operators are all committed to improving the utilization rate of single pile to improve profitability, while pile advertising fees and value-added service fees account for a relatively small proportion. Due to the large number of participants, some operators with weak operation capacity gradually quit. Among more than 300 operators, only one operates more than 1,000 charging piles. Some small companies have stopped operating, and a small number of head operators currently dominate the charging pile market. (Report source: Future Think Tank)


Leading mode of automobile enterprises: self-built pile and cooperative pile construction mode of automobile enterprises coexist

In order to provide better service, automobile enterprises use charging piles as after-sales service to provide owners with better charging experience, which is mainly applicable to mature electric vehicle enterprises and has high requirements for capital and the number of users. Most of the charging piles in the mode dominated by automobile enterprises are public charging piles and private charging piles. However, as the actual demand for charging piles is constantly increasing, automobile enterprises are relatively short of operators in terms of energy supply and technology, and it is difficult to solve the contradiction between pile construction cost and service for owners. At the same time, the financial pressure is great. Some automobile enterprises have gradually shifted from self-construction charging piles to cooperative operation mode with operators.


The dominant mode of the third-party charging service platform: better charging resource allocation and improved single pile utilization rate

Generally, third-party charging platforms do not directly participate in the investment and construction of charging piles. Instead, they connect charging piles of major operators to their own SaaS platforms through their own resource integration capabilities and provide commercial value based on intelligent management. Their unique traffic advantages make it difficult for other enterprises to copy in the short term. The platform-oriented operation mode can open up the interconnection between different operators and provide users with a more convenient one-stop charging experience. The revenue of this model comes from the service fee sharing with the operators and the value-added services based on big data mining, so there will be some conflicts of interest with the operators. Once the head operator withdraws from the third-party platform, it will be difficult to embody the value of the cooperation. Therefore, it is necessary to establish a perfect interdependent and mutually beneficial mechanism.

Competition pattern: Operation scale effect is significant, industry concentration is high

By the end of 2021, 13 charging operators in China have operated more than 10,000 charging piles, among which Tidian, Xingxing and State Grid operate 257,000, 252,000 and 196,000 respectively, maintaining the top three market positions. On the whole, the number of charging piles operated by the top ten operators accounted for 89.2% of the total, and the top three enterprises accounted for more than 60%. The overall charging operation market presents a situation of constant strength, and the leading enterprises are superior in resources and will continue to build a large-scale charging network by virtue of their advantages in scale basis.

Future charging pile industry is destined to be "oligarch game". The market space of charging pile is huge, and it has continuous attraction for capital. However, the characteristics of the industry determine that the survival of the fittest is faster, the physical barriers are prominent, and the Matthew effect is more obvious. It is difficult to make profits by blindly investing in capital and simply earning "electricity fee + service fee". Therefore, enterprises need to have capital advantages, technological advantages, resource advantages, Internet thinking and service consciousness. Therefore, the future industry will be an oligopoly pattern, and the strong will always be strong.

At the same time, the regional distribution of charging piles is relatively concentrated. On the whole, large-scale charging service networks have been formed in economically developed areas such as Guangdong, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Beijing and Zhejiang. By the end of 2021, the public charging infrastructure built by the top 10 provinces and cities in China accounts for 71.6%, and the concentration level remains high. It is mainly due to the characteristics of car license restriction and high popularity of new energy public transport in economically developed areas, which have a great demand for the construction of charging piles. At the same time, the promotion of logistics vehicles, taxis and other special vehicles is also a great guarantee for the utilization hours of charging piles, so as to improve the enthusiasm of operation enterprises to build piles.

Rising charging pile utilization rate is still the fundamental profit of operators

The weak profitability of charging pile operators has become a consensus in the industry. At present, only one Special telephone company claimed to have crossed the break-even line and started to make profits in 2019. The profitability of public charging piles depends on the utilization rate of a single pile and the charging service fee. At present, most of the operators' income comes from the charging service fee, and the mode is relatively simple. However, fierce competition and users are extremely sensitive to charging fees, which makes it difficult to increase the service fee in a short time. Therefore, the utilization rate of single pile has become the top priority of the operators' profit. Therefore, without considering the revenue from value-added services such as advertising, we selected the return rates of typical public DC piles (including 30kW, 60kW and 120kW) and 7kW AC piles for sensitivity analysis. The key assumptions are:

1. Initial investment per unit.

1) Slow charging: Considering that slow charging equipment is cheaper and civil construction and power distribution side input is less, the unit investment cost of slow charging pile is assumed to be ¥0.5 / W;  2) Fast charging: The unit investment cost of 30kW, 60kW and 120kW direct-flow fast charging is ¥2.1 / W, ¥1.3 / W and 0.5 / W respectively.

2. Fixed costs. 

Assume that the loan ratio is 50% (loan interest rate is 5%), the equipment depreciation life is 10 years, the average annual maintenance cost is 5% of the initial investment, and the average annual operation and labor cost is 5% of the initial investment.

3. Charging income. 

Considering that the current charging service fee in the public domain has stabilized at ¥0.4-0.6 / W, we will calculate the charging service fee at ¥0.5 / W

According to the calculation of the yield sensitivity of public charging piles with different power, for DC charging piles with 30/60/120kW, only when the utilization rate reaches above 10%, 8% and 7% can profit be realized, while for AC piles, the profit can be realized when the utilization rate reaches 4%. At present, the newly built power station is well set in the lot. The utilization rate of single pile can reach 20%-30% (5-8 hours/day), and the profitability has been reflected. Based on the charging data analysis of Shanghai and the above sensitivity analysis on the return rate of public piles, we believe that the 120kW high-power DC fast-charging piles for public transportation, buses and other special fields have exceeded the break-even utilization rate, while the 60kW fast-charging piles and 7kW AC piles for public fields have not achieved break-even. In addition, as the power of charging piles increases, the return on investment period will be shortened. In order to realize profit in the depreciation period, the utilization rate of 30kWh quick charging pile needs to reach more than 10% (2.4 hours per day), while the profit rate of 120kWh quick charging pile only needs more than 7%.

Measurement of charging service fee market space

The level and utilization rate of service fee are the core factors affecting service fee income. In terms of charging utilization rate, the current average utilization rate of the charging pile operation industry is 4-5%. Considering that the overall construction of charging piles is still in the peak period, we assume that the overall utilization rate of charging piles will remain at the current low level by 2025. In terms of service fee, since the State Grid released the access threshold of charging pile construction in 2015, the influx of private capital has intensified the competition of charging pile service fee. Although Beijing, Chengdu, Jinan and other places have implemented market regulation for charging service fee, the overall service fee level is stable at a low level of ¥0.4~0.6 / kWh. We also see this level remaining in the short to medium term. Therefore, we conservatively assume that the interest rate and service fee of charging piles will be 5% and 0.5 yuan /kWh respectively in 2025. It is estimated that the service fee income scale will reach 72.9 billion yuan in 2025, with a 4-year CAGR of 48.2%.


High voltage fast charging has become an important solution to the charging problem

New energy vehicles still have the core pain point of "slow charging"

With the increase of electric capacity and driving range, the convenience of charging has become a major factor restricting the improvement of electric vehicle use experience. Taking some popular pure electric models as an example, the average theoretical charging ratio of pure electric vehicles that support fast charging is about 1C, that is, it takes about 30 minutes to Charge to achieve the State of charge (State of Charge, which reflects the remaining capacity of the battery). However, in practice, most pure tram cars need 40-50 minutes to achieve SOC30%-80%, and can only drive about 150-200km. "Slow charging" is still the core pain point of pure electric passenger car industry.

High voltage fast charging has become an important solution to the charging problem

In order to improve consumers' charging experience, consumers' demand for fast charging can be met by continuing to improve the pile ratio or significantly reducing the charging time. In terms of fast charging, there are two technical routes at present: improving charging current and improving charging voltage. From different practices, high voltage fast charging can realize the maximum power charging in a wider range and better match the future demand for fast charging:


High current route: low promotion degree and high requirement for thermal management. According to Joule's Law (formula Q=I2Rt), the increase of current will greatly increase the heat in the charging process, which has high requirements on heat dissipation. For example, in Tesla's high-current fast charging scheme, the peak working current of V3 overcharged pile exceeds 600A, which requires thicker wiring harness and higher requirements on heat dissipation technology. Moreover, the maximum charging power of 250kW can only be achieved at 5%-27%SOC, and efficient charging does not cover the whole process. At present, domestic car manufacturers have not made large customization changes in the heat dissipation scheme, and the high-current charging pile largely relies on the self-built system, and the promotion cost is high.


High voltage route: It is the mode commonly used by automobile manufacturers at present, which can take into account the advantages of reducing energy consumption, improving endurance, reducing weight and saving space. At present, due to the voltage resistance of silicon-based IGBT power devices, the fast charging scheme commonly used by automobile enterprises is 400V high voltage platform, that is, the charging power of 100kW can be achieved with 250A current (the charging power of 100kW can run for about 100km for 10min). Since the launch of the 800V high-voltage platform by Porsche (achieving 300KW power and reducing the high-voltage harness by half), major automobile enterprises have started the research and layout of 800V high-voltage platform since then. Compared with 400V platform, 800V voltage platform has lower operating current, thus saving the volume of wire harness and reducing the internal resistance loss of the circuit, and improving the power density and energy use efficiency.


The high-voltage scheme has been recognized by automobile enterprises, and 2022 is expected to welcome the first year of fast charging

At present, electric vehicles choose different voltage levels depending on the amount of charge they carry. General small mobility scooter voltage for 48V, 60V and 72V; The voltage range of passenger cars is about 250~450V; Buses, buses and other due to the high power, its basic voltage is 450~700V. In the future, with the improvement of driving range and charging speed requirements, the electric vehicle voltage is expected to rise to 800V~1000V.

Auto: Major auto manufacturers around the world have launched 800V high-voltage platform models, which has become a new trend in the current technological evolution of Oems.

At present, high-voltage fast charging has become the majority choice of automobile manufacturers. In 2019, Porsche's Taycan launched 800V high-voltage electrical architecture for the first time in the world, equipped with 800V DC fast charging system and supporting 350kw high-power fast charging. After entering 2021, more and more Oems will favor the high voltage fast charging route. First, international giants such as Hyundai and Kia have released 800V platforms, and then domestic Oems such as BYD, Great Wall, GAC and Xiaopeng have also launched or plan to launch 800V platforms. High voltage fast charging experience will become an important standard for differentiated experience in the electric vehicle market.

Pile end: With high-voltage platform models, OEM Oems speed up the deployment of their own super fast charge network

At present, the model based on 800V high voltage technology platform has entered the mass production stage, and the deployment of super charging piles is also advancing in sequence. In addition to cooperating with operators to deploy charging networks, Oems are also actively building their own charging networks. Whether self-built or cooperative operation, high pressure is an important development trend.

High pressure fast charging technology has been basically available, pile end will realize scale layout before car end.

From the car end, the main parts of high pressure need to be re-selected. High voltage battery, BMS, electric drive, OBC, DC/DC, PTC, air conditioning, high voltage connector, etc., need to be re-selected. From the point of view of pile end, the maturity of high pressure parts is higher. The charging gun, wire, DC contactor and fuse need to be re-selected. Currently, there are mature products, and other components need not be changed.


High voltage and high power fast charging will bring new requirements such as charging modules and relays.

Dc charging module

As the core component of the charging pile system, the technical scheme, performance and reliability of the charging module directly affect the overall performance of the charging pile system.

According to the data of charging pile manager, in the current domestic market, 20kW module occupies about 60% of the market capacity, and the remaining capacity is occupied by 30kW, and part of 40kW module. With the improvement of electric vehicle pool capacity and charging ratio in recent years, there has been an obvious trend of actual market development: 20kW market share is gradually developing to 20kW, 30kW, 40kW diversified specifications. Youyougreen first launched 30kW/1000V charging modules in the first half of 2018, and will launch 20kW/1000V and 40kW/1000V modules in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Huawei, Yingfeiyuan, Yonglian, Tonghe, ZTE and other manufacturers also launched 1000V charging module products in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

With the technology maturity and scale expansion of charging equipment, the price of DC charging pile module is also decreasing, and the cost price of charging module will be reduced to 0.35 yuan /w at the lowest in 2020. Assume that the prices of DC charging pile modules from 2022 to 2025 are respectively 0.28 yuan /w, 0.26 yuan /w, 0.23 yuan /w and 0.21 yuan /w. The average power of newly added public DC charging piles is predicted according to 147kw, 153kw, 161kw and 166kw. It is estimated that the new DC charging module market will reach 19 billion yuan in 2025, and the cumulative market size of DC charging module will reach 64.7 billion yuan from 2022 to 2025.

High voltage relay

Relay is a small current control of large current off electrical switch, in the circuit plays the role of automatic regulation, safety protection, conversion circuit and so on. High voltage DC relay is a kind of electromagnetic relay used to control the current to direct current under high voltage environment. Electric vehicle is the main application field of high voltage DC relay. In addition, the growth of high voltage DC fast charge protection also puts forward new requirements for high voltage relay.

At the end of the new energy vehicle, compared with the 12-48V main circuit voltage of the traditional automobile, the main circuit voltage of the new energy vehicle is generally greater than 200V, and the electric bus can be greater than 750V. The difficulty of circuit cutting is greatly increased, and the requirements on the product performance of the relay are greatly increased, and the high voltage DC relay is needed. On average, each new energy passenger vehicle needs to be equipped with 8-11 HVDC relays, including 2 main relays, 1 pre-charging relay, 2 quick charging relays, 2 general charging relays and 1 high voltage system auxiliary equipment relay. From the perspective of the value of a single bike, the high voltage DC relay in new energy vehicles is more than 10 times that of traditional vehicles. According to the differences of vehicle types and power systems, the number and scale of relays used in automobiles are also quite different. At the end of the charging pile, on average, each high voltage direct flow charging pile needs to be equipped with 2-3 high voltage relays.

We take the sales volume of new energy vehicles and the number of charging piles as the basic data, and assume that HVDC relays are born and produced in scale. The value of a single bike declines by 5% each year due to the decrease in cost. Similarly, the value of charging piles is assumed to be false. It is estimated that in 2025, the market scale of domestic new-energy vehicles and relays for HVDC charging piles will increase from 3.9 billion yuan in 2021 to 9.2 billion yuan, with a CAGR of 23.4% in 2021E-2025E. (Report source: Future Think Tank)


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