One problem that has prevented electric cars from becoming popular in China is the lack of charging facilities. Tesla Motors, the US-based firm that makes high-end electric vehicles, had sought to build a supercharger network across China, but has encountered various difficulties on the ground.
But now, the company has found a way to make a breakthrough in the world’s biggest auto market. The group has launched a project called ‘Destination Charging’ under which it will have its wall-mounted charging piles installed at major shopping malls and commercial buildings in the mainland.
Intime Retail Group (01833.HK) and SOHO China (00410.HK) are the partners of Tesla in the project’s initial stage.
According to the National Business Daily, Intime will reserve over 40 parking lots for Tesla electric cars, covering cities such as Beijing, Hangzhou and Chengdu.
Tesla will provide the wall-mounted charging piles to Intime, while the latter will handle the installation and maintenance, and bear the electricity expenses.
Tesla said users of its electric cars can charge the vehicles for free in these spots. A one-hour charge is enough for the ModelS to run for 100 kilometers.
Holding hands with local commercial property developers and retailers in building charging facilities is actually an idea that came from a Tesla customer.
Zong Yi, the chief executive of a water heater company, had wanted to drive his Tesla electric car from Beijing to his home in Guangzhou, but found out that there weren’t enough charging spots along the way.
Zong then bought 20 wall-mounted charging piles on his own, and asked interested hotels to apply for installing those facilities. He received over 20,000 applications in just a few days, illustrating the huge demand among hotels and malls, according to Yicai.com.
That news led to Tesla coming up with its own initiative to have such charging facilities installed at major commercial centers.
The company had earlier faced a lot of difficulties in establishing charging pods on its own. Expensive building costs and dealing with local governments are just two of the many problems.
Now, through partnerships up with private commercial properties like hotels and shopping malls, Tesla can alleviate its cost burden as well as establish the charger network in a smooth way.
That said, the company has not given up the on idea to build a supercharger net. Wu Bixuan, head of Tesla’s division told the media that the ‘Destination Charging’ project and Tesla’s supercharging stations will complement with each other.
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