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New Energy Vehicles Watched by Two Sessions

May 29, 2020

New energy vehicles are regarded as the key to the Chinese automobile industry's overtaking in corners. In 2019, under the influence of the subsidy recession, China's new energy vehicle sales fell by 4% year-on-year to 1.206 million units, which was the first negative growth in ten years. Under the current special situation, the Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei proposed in the two sessions that the development of new energy vehicles should seek a breakthrough in the supply, demand and use sides.

On the supply side, Miao Wei proposed to orderly release OEM production of new energy vehicles. For enterprises with self-inspection capabilities, self-inspection and self-certification will be implemented to reduce repeated inspections. Brand licensing pilots will be launched for companies developing innovative new energy vehicles; on the demand side, on the basis of fiscal and tax support, encourage the use of more new energy vehicles in the public service sector and encourage the development of power replacement models; The construction of power exchange infrastructure encourages the interconnection of charging facilities.

Miao Wei's speech encouraged the development of the power exchange model, which was different from the mainstream vehicle docking charging station charging method, which caused market attention. At present, new energy vehicle companies generally use charging piles to charge, and the construction and service costs of charging stations are relatively low, but they also bring the disadvantage of too long charging waiting time.

Although the advertising slogan for new energy vehicles generally emphasizes that "it takes only 30 minutes to rush to 80% of electricity", in fact, the restrictions are hidden in the advertising words. In the mainstream battery management system solution, when charging from 0% to 30% power and 80% to 100% power, it enters the trickle charge protection state to prevent overcharging and harming the battery. After carefully reading the instructions of each car, you will find that the "30% charge to 80% power" in the slogan may refer to the time from 30% power to 80% power under the fast charging method.

From the actual situation, even if the fast charging scheme is adopted, the charging time of 30% to 80% of the power will take about 30 minutes under the charging environment that avoids low temperatures. This is in contrast to the operation time for a traditional fuel-powered vehicle to be fully refilled within 3 minutes. Slow charging and charging queues are difficult to promote new energy vehicles.

The power exchange mode is mainly to solve the problem of slow charging of new energy vehicles. Taking NIO-US, which promotes the domestic power exchange mode as an example, in the power exchange station of Weilai, it can be replaced with a full charge The battery is very fast compared to spending 30 minutes in the charging pile from 30% to 80% power, which can alleviate consumers' concerns to a certain extent and help to drive the "demand side" willingness to buy cars.

The pros and cons of the power exchange model

Promoting the power exchange model is not easy. First, the battery swap mode requires standardized battery specifications. It is very difficult to unify the battery models of domestic new energy vehicle companies, not to mention that the new energy vehicle battery technology is still in rapid progress, which includes structural innovations, such as BYD (56.640, -0.66, -1.15%) new promotion "Blade battery".

In addition to Wei Lai in the current domestic market, BAIC Motor (01958-HK) also promotes the power exchange model. In 2019, the annual sales volume of pure electric cars under the Beijing brand EU5 reached 80,000 units, with a market share of nearly 10% by single model, ranking first in China. According to EV Sales statistics, according to new energy vehicle model sales, BAIC's EU series sales ranked second in the world, second only to Tesla (TSLA-US) Model 3.

The high sales volume of Beiqi EU car series brings the advantages of uniform standards. Unlike Weilai's power exchange business, which mainly focuses on private passenger areas, BAIC's power exchange services are mainly used in the public sector. Because the BAIC EU series is a hot-selling taxi model, BAIC has deployed a taxi power replacement service to solve the urgent need for taxi drivers to change power slowly.

However, it is too early to unify the battery specifications of domestic new energy car companies such as BYD (002594-CN), Beijing Automobile, Weilai and other car companies. Existing new energy vehicle battery technology has not yet met the use requirements in terms of energy density, safety, charging time, etc., and now unified battery specifications may limit the innovation and development of battery technology. ease.

Another challenge for the implementation of the swapping station comes from the inadequacy of the swapping station infrastructure. A large number of layouts will mean high costs. Taking Weilai as an example, as of March 2020, Weilai had 123 replacement stations in 51 cities across the country. By comparison, Wind data shows that as of the end of 2019, the cumulative number of gas stations of two companies, PetroChina (4.290, -0.02, -0.46%) and Sinopec (4.180, -0.01, -0.24%), reached 53,067.

Compared with the layout of charging piles, the replacement of power stations has a higher cost, and it is difficult to rely on car companies to sustain themselves. Policy support is needed on the government side, which is good for car companies that have already started the power exchange mode, and also helps head power battery manufacturers.

For the layout of charging piles, one of the important ways to reduce costs is the light weight of components and parts, long life, easy maintenance, and encourage the development and innovation of composite parts and replacement.

The production capacity of new energy vehicles in the month of April has basically reached the level of the same period last year. However, the market competition for new energy vehicles is intensifying. The supply of core technologies for new energy vehicles in China is still insufficient, and the quality assurance system needs to be further improved.

The lightweighting of new energy vehicles also requires the active efforts of all parties.