As the supply of electric vehicles is rapidly expanding, large domestic companies and insurance companies are also entering the electric vehicle charging market one after another. It is estimated that 260,000 electric vehicles have been distributed in Korea. As a result, the number of electric vehicle charging operators nearly doubled in the past seven months. As the market grows, it is also pointed out that the safety standards for chargers need to be supplemented.
According to the Korea Smart Grid Association under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on the 11th, as of the end of last month, there were 349 electric vehicle charging companies registered with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The number of operators from 186 at the end of last year increased by 87.6% (163) this year.
In the EV charging market, there are 259 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), accounting for 74.2% of all operators. This is because small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) first jumped into related businesses based on government subsidies. The charging market is largely divided into manufacturers who make chargers and service providers that provide charging services directly to consumers. Central Control, etc. develops and manufactures electric vehicle chargers, while Power Cube and ChargeB conduct charging service businesses.
However, as the charging market has recently grown, automakers and large companies are jumping in one after another. Global consulting firm Roland Berger predicted that the global electric vehicle charging market will grow sixfold from $55 billion (about 71 trillion won) next year to $325 billion (about 423 trillion won) in 2030.
Tesla operates its own charging station ‘Supercharger’ in Korea and Hyundai Motor Group operates ‘E-pit’. In addition, large corporations such as LG Electronics, which are expanding their electronics business, as well as Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance, an insurance company, have started charging businesses. In June, LG Electronics joined hands with GS Energy and GS Neotek to acquire a 100% stake in Apple Mango, a company specializing in electric vehicle chargers. Samsung Fire & Marine will be piloting a mobile electric vehicle charging service in Jeju Island from the middle of this month.
Although the market is growing rapidly, the problem is that the related regulations are not properly established yet. Under the current law, there is only a standard (40 kW) that separates slow and rapid, and there is no standard for ‘super-rapid’. An official from the Ministry of Environment explained, “There is no standard for ultra-rapidity yet, but for convenience, more than 300 kW is called ‘super-rapid’.” In addition, in the case of ultra-fast chargers, there is no national integrated certification mark (KC) standard to verify safety.
There are portable chargers on the market, but they also do not have safety standards. A portable charger is a device that a driver can carry and charge at an outlet with an electronic tag. However, it is a product that has not been certified by the government, such as undergoing shock or vibration tests. The government is also aware of this problem and is currently preparing safety certification standards. Another problem is that each car maker has a different standard of charging speed to guide consumers. For example, in the case of Hyundai Motor’s Ioniq 5 long range, it is advertised that it can be charged up to 80% in 18 minutes based on 350 kW, which is super fast. However, it does not disclose the time it takes for slow (7 to 40 kW) and rapid (50 kW or more) charging, which accounts for most of the chargers. As each car maker marks the charging time according to different standards, it is inevitable for consumers to be confused. Lee Hang-koo, a research fellow at the Automobile Research Institute, said, “We need to set the standards properly and consider introducing various charging methods such as wireless charging and battery replacement.”
[ⓒ 매일경제 & mk.co.kr, 무단전재 및 재배포 금지]