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Shanghai implements Internet-of-Vehicle plans with 100,000 new data-collecting EV chargers

The Shanghai Municipal Government yesterday announced its smart-city action plan. Activities include adding 100,000 charging ports, so-called Internet-of-Vehicle roadways, and 34,500 5G base stations. Those charging ports double as interactive devices that collect a lot of data, including “user portraits.”

In April, China’s largest utility companies announced plans to construct charging ports at a scale 10 times bigger than last year. Xin Guobin, deputy minister of Industry and Information Technology, said the network of charging stations, battery-swap locations, and big data would be the foundation of China’s strategy for new energy vehicles.

The new charging ports, or piles, will have enhanced data-collecting capabilities. Sun Huifeng, president of CCID Consulting, told China Daily:

They can offer battery information, user habits, vehicle location, and other data. With such data, services including secondhand car evaluation and user portraits can be further expanded.

Wu Hao, the high-tech chief of China’s state planning commission, said the multi-pronged approach would use big data, artificial intelligence, and smart-energy infrastructure. Shanghai will be the “benchmark city” with a “blue-chip urban network of smart terminal facilities,” according to Gasgoo, an automotive news site.

Ding Rui, chief executive of electric vehicle solution provider X-Charge, said:

Charging piles [what we call “ports”] are not merely a charging station. Charging is just a 2% function of a charging pile, and the remaining 98 percent will be interactive.

Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Navigant Research, estimates the number of charging ports (including cord sets) available in China at 3.4 million. That’s twice the number as found in North America. He believes that data gathered from chargers is vital. He told Electrek:

There are lots of good reasons for gathering the data, including understanding where people are using charging to aid in making decisions about where to build out infrastructure.

It’s also needed for vehicle-to-grid integration and for new standards like Plug&Charge that enable “roaming” across multiple charging networks.

EV sales might have slumped in China so far this year. But electric car charging is kicking into high gear.

The state-backed China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance shows the nation had by 2019 built more than 510,000 public charging piles and 703,000 private ones. Last month, China Southern Power Grid Co. Ltd. said it will add 380,000 more in the next four years.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.