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Tech Talk: China's NEV boom needs software and charging pole boost


China's booming new energy vehicle (NEV) industry requires a double dose of innovation to maintain its stellar growth, according to Miao Wei, vice chairman of the Committee on Economic Affairs of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee and former minister of industry and IT.

In an exclusive interview with CGTN, Miao emphasized the crucial role of software, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), in propelling the industry forward.

NEVs, alongside lithium batteries and solar panels, are becoming China's "new three pillars" of export, cementing the nation's position as a global leader of innovation. China initially aimed for NEVs to comprise over 50 percent of new car sales by 2035, but Miao unveiled projections suggesting this target could be achieved 10 years earlier.

Watch: CGTN AI host Ainia demonstrates four things that make NEVs popular in China

Consumer acceptance is surging, with the NEV market share in China exceeding 31 percent in 2023. This trend extends beyond domestic borders – NEV exports skyrocketed by 77 percent to 1.2 million units that same year.

However, Miao warns that continued growth hinges on overcoming key challenges. "Software defines cars," he declared, underscoring the need for advancements in both core software and AI-powered technologies like autonomous driving.

Another critical area for improvement lies in charging infrastructure. "By the end of last year, there were about 2.4 NEVs for every charging station," Miao told CGTN, adding that the increase in charging poles hasn't matched the rapid NEV promotion.

Miao believes that expanding the charging network would allow for lighter, lower-capacity batteries in NEVs, ultimately translating to lower vehicle prices and reduced energy consumption. "This is a virtuous cycle process," he concluded.

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