The demand for Chinese EV has significantly grown in Belarus. Charging points experts warn about possible charging problems
The total number of registered electric vehicles in Belarus exceeded 2,500 cars this February. Low-cost Chinese electric cars that continue to pour to the country have become especially popular among Belarusians.
According to car dealers’ estimates, several thousand Chinese cars of such brands as BYD, Higer, BAIC, GAC and others will arrive in Belarus in the near future. However, apart from the attractive price and a wide model range, the owners of Chinese EV could face unexpected difficulties. Chinese electric cars have their own specifics and in some aspects are seriously different from both American and European vehicles. Electric cars in China have their own GB/T charging standard and Belarus has no charging infrastructure for it. The map clearly shows that European-type EV charging connectors are located in Western Europe, Australia, South America, and some African countries (marked green on the map). Such stations are installed in Belarus as well. Whereas the American and Asian continents are equipped with completely different connector standards: in America it is the CCS type 1 standard (blue), while in China it is GB/T (light blue).
In such a situation, adapters come to the rescue of car owners. However, serious problems can arise during charging due to the fact that many drivers use uncertified adapters: connecting to a station through an adapter can cause a short circuit leading to a car blocking or even a fire.
Experts of the national operator of Malanka EV charging points network note that up to 200 new users get registered in the mobile app monthly. The average is about 250 charging sessions at the stations daily, the total number of sessions has exceeded 15,000 over the last two months.
The car owners using uncertified adapters cannot charge their EV: 5 out of 10 attempts usually prove unsuccessful. In order to avoid such problems, experts recommend converting the connector to the European type at service stations. Conversion cost starts from 400 USD. It will help to avoid problems with charging no only in Belarus, but also in other European countries car owners might visit on their EV.
“Every month up to five drivers come to us to convert their connectors. The high cost of converting Chinese electric vehicles comes from the special aspects of their software. Even if a driver prefers to use an adapter immediately after purchasing an EV, they come for conversion in a month or two, since the adapters are fraught with charging problems. Some charging points simply do not recognize adapters, which makes charging impossible. Also, when using adapters, there is a high error probability and the station can simply block the EV. And it is not always possible to unlock it with adapters. Also, the use of adapters imposes a limitation on the charging speed,” clarifies an expert of one of the Minsk service stations Yauhen Shved.
Malanka, the national operator of the charging stations network, is ready to assist EV drivers:
“We suggest that drivers who convert the plug of their electric car to the European standard drop by a Malanka station during the purchase and test drive of their vehicle. Our experts will monitor the charging process of your electric car remotely and walk you through the charging session from the starting point to the fully charged battery,” explains Maksim Susarenka, the head of the charging infrastructure operation department at Belorusneft.
Experts recommend making sure the charging connector of your electric vehicle is suitable for stations with European connectors during car purchase. If you use adapters it is advised to make sure that you have a certificate from the manufacturer that confirms its performance and safety. If a driver decides to convert the connector or purchase an adapter, Malanka recommends them to come to the charging point for testing and correct adjustment of the converted connector by the experts of the Malanka control center.