Oil giants compete to charge EVs


Sinopec, China’s largest seller of refined oil, is expanding its business into electric vehicle charging. 

Jiemian reports that a new company was registered on 12 January that belongs 70% to Sinopec and 40% to Wanbang – the second largest operator of public charging stations in China.

Sinopec Wanbang New Energy will focus on electricity generation and distribution, providing charging services and selling charging facilities. 

Sinopec owns over 30,000 petrol stations in China, and is now aiming to convert them into charging stations to keep up with rapid changes in the auto industry.

EVs are gradually replacing traditional combustion vehicles in China – accounting for 35.7% of total vehicle sales last year – and the demand for petrol is falling. China’s petrol stations decreased in number by 100 from 2021 to 2022, while petrol consumption fell 4.5%, China Dialogue recently reported.

Star Charge, owned by Wanbang, is the second largest EV charging service provider in the country. By the end of November 2023, China had 2.63 million public charging stations, and 438,000 belonged to Star Charge, according to the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance.

In contrast, Sinopec only owned about 6,000 charging stations by mid December 2023, and the giant is finding ways to keep up with its competitors.

Last September, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China’s second largest refined oil seller, announced its acquisition of a charging facility company. This made CNPC the 15th largest player in the charging service industry, running over 28,000 charging stations in China.

Last year, Sinopec said it would accelerate its charging and battery-replacement business to increase its market share in this emerging market.

Read China Dialogue’s recent analysis of China possibly reaching “peak petrol station”.


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