The inner monologue of a charging pile


Zhang Yahui

Hello everyone, I am a charging pile, born in Beijing, now living in Chaoyang District. This year is the fifth year of my birth, and I am a good partner of new energy vehicles. In recent years, I am very happy to see more and more people driving new energy vehicles. I have more and more friends, but I also slowly found that with the increase of friends, there are many problems in the survival of charging piles.



Few, far, hard to find charging is not hide and seek


When I was born, I was loved by thousands of people, as one of the earliest charging piles in Beijing, we can be said to be the newborn under the "family planning". As the state's support policies for new energy vehicles have been introduced, we, as a good friend of electric vehicles, have also received strong support.


At the beginning of the car more pile less, as one of the few fast filling pile, I always have a constant stream of people and cars around me, I also know a lot of friends, Xiao Bai is one of them.


Xiao Bai is an electric car, and his owner works in the East Third Ring Road. At that time, he did not have his own charging station. He told me that he is the first electric car in the community, and every day the owner drives him to and from work, many passers-by stop and look at him. However, their community has no charging facilities, and the nearest charging pile has to drive 5 kilometers, which is very inconvenient. So the owner had to drive to the company near the time of work every day to charge, but not every time. Xiao Bai joked with me: "Once, we followed the navigation turned several intersections, finally drove the car, but found that the public charging parking Spaces were all occupied, some were still occupied by fuel vehicles, we had to go to another place." The number of charging piles is small, and some locations are particularly remote, and I really do not know who it is built for. He also said that once he and his master went to Fangshan in Beijing, the master opened the map to find the charging pile before departure, and saw that there was a charging station near the destination, and the charging pile was in good condition. But when they got to the charging station, they looked back and forth at the destination, and they could not find the charging pile. After going around a few times, they finally found eight charging piles in a pile of grass, but only two of them were usable. Later, his owner pulled the weeds himself, and it took a lot of trouble to complete the charge.


I agree with Xiao Bai's words, listen to the charging people say, some charging pile location is like playing "hide and seek", not only remote location, and often by the green belt, nearby trees, if you do not look carefully, it is not easy to detect inside "hidden" a charging pile.


Compared with those cold charging piles, I am closer to the city because of convenient transportation and crowded, but not everyone is a "guest". Because the parking space of the charging place is tight, I and the other two charging piles next to me are often occupied by some "uninvited guests". Some electric vehicles do not go after full charge, parked here, other vehicles can not charge, had to go to find other piles. Even more egregious, some fuel vehicles blatantly occupy special parking Spaces. Once, a fuel truck pulled up next to me, and I called out to him, "This is a charging space, you can't park here." His master swept away as if he hadn't heard. He told me that his master often does this, no matter whether it is a charging parking space, as long as it is empty, he will stop, "let the charging person go to find other charging places," his words were full of frustration.


Getting old, getting old, getting ugly goes from disrepair to disuse


In recent years, there are more and more new energy vehicles on the road, a variety of shapes, colors, brands of cars running around, I heard that in order to increase sales, car companies began to provide car gift charging pile and installation services, private charging pile began to become popular. Listen to Xiao Bai said that his master had bought a new Tesla, installed a private charging pile in the community, and no longer had to look for charging piles everywhere.


At the beginning, the charging pile into the community is not easy, after many consultations with the property, the community and the 4S shop, the owner of Xiaobai was finally allowed to install a private charging pile in the community, but soon they ushered in a new wave of problems. The quality of the charging pile is uneven, and the fast charging pile of the Xiaobai home is broken shortly after installation, and the staff of the 4S shop let the owner of the Xiaobai charging pile be dismantled and brought to the store for testing. Because the technical staff had to come from outside, it took a long time, before or after two or three times to repair the fast filling pile. I heard that the service fee after the expiration of the private pile warranty is very high, and the door fee is basically about 200 yuan.


Many owners, like the owner of the white, even if they have private charging piles, they are forced to come to us to charge these public charging piles. However, compared with the impact of private charging piles, what makes me feel powerless is that my body began to decline. I am 5 years old this year, should still be a prime charging pile, but these two years I have some obvious changes. My original color is bright, clean and tidy, efficient and fast, and everyone who comes to charge is praised, "really an excellent charging pile." But slowly with the growth of age, environmental impact, I do not know when to start, my physical condition is becoming less and less optimistic.


Years of high temperature exposure, let me from inside to outside have different degrees of aging, at first just high temperature charging occasionally high temperature, power off, and then I directly charged the power. Internal lines began to block, break, difficult to dredge; Parts are also slowly aging and shrinking; My appearance has changed dramatically, in the sun and rain day after day, faded, peeling, revealing rusty traces, ugly.


What makes people more helpless is that, in the outdoor, we do not have too many protection measures, from time to time, someone will paste small advertisements on our body, some people will take sharp stones or other tools to scratch on our body, leaving scars, two steps away from me, a charging pile touch screen has been blurred.


In the beginning, there were workers who would regularly check my physical condition, tighten the loose screws under my feet, put the dropped charging gun back in place, test whether the wiring in my body was smooth, and replace some damaged parts in time. But with the increase in the number of new charging piles, there is gradually no one to maintain and repair us, and we are slowly moving toward abandonment.


One day, a passing BYD wanted to come in and charge. However, the owner played with it for a long time, but it could not be charged, and had to walk away. Last month, not far from me, six new charging piles were erected, of which three were still fast filling piles, those beautiful cars drove past us to them, as if declaring our uselessness, I looked at the new charging piles one by one, cars to cars, as if I saw myself in the year.


Improve the efficiency of available piles by considering dynamic balance in advance


With the support of the policy, the charging pile market has ushered in a period of explosive growth in recent years. There are more and more new piles around me, and the problem of our old piles is difficult to solve. Building piles everywhere, but did not consider the layout problem, some charging piles were built in remote places, the utilization rate is not high, resulting in a large area of resource waste. The good news is that this situation has been taken seriously and is expected to be resolved.


Tong Zongqi, deputy secretary-general of the China electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance, pointed out that there is no too high technical threshold in the field of charging infrastructure, and the operators' different station layouts and service models directly affect their revenue levels, and some charging piles can reach 50% to 60% utilization, while some charging piles are not interested, let alone revenue. Therefore, enterprises that cannot achieve profitability are not to mention living, and are lost in the Red Sea over time, leaving a "zombie pile" that is dead and lifeless and self-defeating.


The construction of charging piles is a long-term, comprehensive consideration of the problem, in the view of Wang Qing, deputy director of the Institute of Market Economy of the Development Research Center of The State Council, the charging piles are now exposed so many problems, the reason is that they are not combined with the layout of the energy and automobile industry when they are built, many participants initially built large areas for policy subsidies. No matter in the planning layout or practical aspects are unreasonable, the supply efficiency is not high, the utilization rate is limited.


Although the number of charging piles is increasing, the available high-quality charging piles are far from reaching the demand, and the construction of new piles is still subject to many restrictions in high-speed service areas, rural areas and other areas with huge demand. It is understood that now want to build a large area of charging (station) pile in the service area of the highway, either to rebuild the service area, or directly plan a new charging station, the cost is high, but also involves multi-department and highway territory, the operator of the multi-party cooperation, involved in a lot of procedures, large capital needs.


The new energy vehicle market is developing rapidly, and as an important supporting facility, charging piles are facing the contradiction of inadequate development and imbalance. In response to this problem, Wang Qing said that the pile matching is a dynamic balance process, the current rapid growth of new energy vehicles production and sales, the number of charging piles put forward certain requirements, but can not blindly build new piles, but also fully consider how to make full use of old piles, improve the utilization rate of existing piles, such as regular maintenance of available charging piles, The available charging piles in some remote areas will be transferred to places with more abundant application scenarios. For some charging piles with low utilization, idle or abandoned in remote areas, the exit should be timely exit, and then recycle and integrate their carrying resources for dynamic optimization and adjustment.


The work behind this requires not only the actual operation of enterprises, but also the macro-control of relevant government departments to build a more balanced and reasonable industrial layout. We believe that to solve the problem of unbalanced and inadequate development of charging piles, there is a long way to go but the future is promising.


Originally published by China Automotive News, September 11, 2023