Huawei rolls out ultrafast EV chargers in China, taking on Tesla


Huawei Technologies plans to install 100,000 fast charging stations for electric vehicles in China this year, including units more than twice as fast as Tesla’s, providing infrastructure that could give a boost to fast-charging vehicles from Chinese automakers.

A charging station advertising 1 kilometer of range for every second of charging can be found in the parking lot of a shopping center in Huawei’s home city of Shenzhen, with “600 kW” shown beneath the Huawei logo.

The ultrafast charger was developed by Huawei subsidiary Huawei Digital Power, which had produced charger parts but is now making a full-scale foray into complete stations.

“We need 1 kilometer-per-second charging in order to give drivers the same experience as refueling” a gas-powered vehicle, Huawei Digital Power’s Liu Dawei said at an event in Hangzhou in mid-December.

The company will sell the chargers to operators of charging facilities. It plans to install a total of 100,000 units, including 250-kilowatt chargers, in locations such as commercial facilities and highway service areas by the end of 2024.

Based on the assumptions used by Huawei for its 1 kilometer-per-second figure—an EV equipped with an 80-kilowatt-hour battery and a range of 600 kilometers—a full charge could theoretically be completed in about eight minutes. Actual charging times would vary depending on temperature and the battery’s remaining capacity.

The charger’s output of 600 kW is among the highest in the world. Tesla’s Supercharger has a maximum output of 250 kW in China. Under the same conditions as Huawei’s estimate, a full charge using Tesla equipment would take about 19 minutes.

Huawei says its charger can be used with all EVs, including Tesla’s.

Increasing the output of a charger also increases the amount of heat it generates. Huawei overcame this hurdle with a cooling system that uses liquid coolant. Most chargers use cooling fans.

While Huawei’s mainstay business is telecommunications, it is also involved in cellular base stations and solar power generation. In developing its EV chargers, it appears to have incorporated communications and weather-resistance technology it honed in those areas.

Its entry into chargers rose from the emerging need for equipment that can keep up with improvements in battery performance.

Last August, world battery leader CATL announced a new battery that can charge 400 kilometers of range in ten minutes. State-owned Chery Automobile and an EV startup to which Huawei provides autonomous-driving systems have decided to use the battery.

China had 2.7 million public charging stations at the end of 2023, according to the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance. The number is expected to increase 40% in 2024, but only some will support fast charging.

“The number is insufficient in light of the increasing number of EVs that need fast charging,” Huawei said.

Tesla has led the way in developing a fast-charger network. It began installing them in China in 2014 and had over 11,000 in place as of November. However, most can charge only Tesla vehicles. The American company said in 2023 it was opening some up to other EVs, but this applies to only around 20% of its stations.

Among Chinese players, EV startup Xpeng Motors had installed ultrafast chargers with a maximum output of 480 kW at more than 200 locations as of August 2023. Major charging station operators TELD and Star Charge are also installing ultrafast chargers.

If Huawei’s chargers, which are compatible with all automakers, become widespread, that could provide a tailwind for Chinese companies making EVs that support fast charging.

Huawei will focus on the domestic market for now, but it has not ruled out expanding overseas.

This article first appeared on Nikkei Asia. It has been republished here as part of 36Kr’s ongoing partnership with Nikkei.


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