Biz / Auto

Automakers sharing charging piles may become a trend

Shen Mengdan
Geely joining NIO's NEV charging system network marks a possible trend that the relatively separate domestic charging pile market will gradually move towards unified operation.
Shen Mengdan

Chinese carmaker Geely joined rival NIO's new-energy vehicle charging system network last week, marking a possible trend that the relatively separate domestic charging pile market will gradually move towards unified operation.

NIO Power and Geely Automobile Group officially reached a cooperation on system interconnection on March 27, further promoting the opening and sharing of the NEV charging network.

Users of Geely Group's brands, including Geely, LYNK&CO, and ZEEKR, will be able to use the corresponding brand's app to view real-time information on the location, price, status, and site guidelines of NIO's charging piles, completing tasks like charging and payment quickly and seamlessly.

"After NIO binds the charging network with Geely, it will allow the latter's customers to use the former's charging stations, which can greatly improve the utilization rate of NIO's charging piles," said Zhang Xiang, visiting professor at the Huanghe University of Science and Technology.

Geely's self-built charging network will also soon be linked with NIO's.

At present, the charging network of ZEEKR already has 445 charging stations and 2,439 charging piles domestically, with all brands under Geely having fully access to the system.

A total of 1,000 charging stations will be built by 2024, and 10,000 charging piles by 2026, according to ZEEKR's latest plan.

Automakers sharing charging piles may become a trend

Charging piles at a NIO delivery center in Shanghai.

NIO Power, a globally innovative intelligent energy service system created by NIO Auto, is an extensive network of charging and switching facilities, according to the company's website.

Relying on the NIO Power Cloud, it connects power stations, charging piles, mobile charging autos, battery packs, vehicles, NIO staff, and users into an intelligent energy internet, providing EVs with charging services covering the entire scenario for different dwell times and different areas of use.

NIO has so far built 3,740 charging stations and 20,000 charging piles, covering at least 300 cities nationwide, making it the company with the most self-built power exchange stations and charging piles in the industry.

It is also worth mentioning that this is not the first cooperation between Geely and NIO.

Geely Group signed a strategic cooperation agreement with NIO on power exchange last November, in which the two firms were to cooperate in a number of areas, including power exchange battery standards, power exchange technology, power exchange service network construction and operation, power exchange model R&D and customization, and battery asset management and operation.

According to Roland Berger Global Partner Fang Yinliang, charging pile interconnection includes at least three levels: charging physical interface, charging pile and configuration data, and transaction settlement.

"From a broader perspective, charging piles will also be interconnected with smart grids and smart cities in the future," said Fang.

In fact, Geely and NIO are not the only carmakers to implement the idea of sharing charging piles.

Tesla announced the opening of the charging network for a number of non-Tesla NEVs, with the first batch of 10 charging stations open for 37 models on April 25, 2023.

This year, the American EV giant has continuously allowed more brands of EV users to share its more than 800 charging stations and 4,600-plus charging piles, providing one-stop service, including station finding, navigation, lock lowering, charging and payment.

Industry insiders believe that opening exclusive charging piles and then linking up with rival networks will become a trend for more car companies.

Automakers sharing charging piles may become a trend

A Tesla supercharger station is seen on a street in Zhengzhou, Henan Province in December, 2023.

Special Reports