CHAdeMO Shows It Is Still A Relevant Fast Charging Protocol

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CHAdeMO Protocol Shows Upgrade Roadmap to 400 kW Fast Charging

Good old CHAdeMO. CHAdeMO fast charging has been powering electric vehicles since 2009. I remember my first charging experience with one of the first LEAFs — charging with a hefty cable and pouring the electricity into the car in just 40 minutes. It was a revolution and instantaneously made long EV drives a possibility.

CHAdeMO History & Development

CHAdeMO was here first, but was challenged by heavy hitters before long. Years later, it is still alive and kicking. Not to be left behind by massive increases in the CCS fast charging standard, the CHAdeMO group indicates its new protocol, CHAdeMO 2.0, can handle up to 400kW.

CHAdeMO EV fast charging
CHAdeMO EV fast charging

CHAdeMO 1.0 was originally published in 2012, and version 1.2 meant a higher max charging rate of up to 200kW at 400A x 500V. That was in March 2017, and even though no electric cars can get up to that 200kW rate yet, the EV industry has been talking about 350kW as the future of charging. So, CHAdeMO 2.0 allows for that plus a bit. The 400kW rate would make high-voltage charging up to 1kV possible using liquid-cooled cables and a CHAdeMO plug or pantograph.

The best part is that backward compatibility has been ensured with the plug, allowing it to feed both current EVs and upcoming ones with higher-power charging capability.

What does CHAdeMO mean? Usually, we leave this tidbit of information for last, but the name reveals a lot about the original idea. CHAdeMO is a play on words in Japanese for “Time for a quick cup of tea!” — or something that conveys the same idea.

Nissan and partners could see that fast charging was needed for many in the first generation of EV adoption. Now, the company and its colleagues seem to clearly understand that superfast/ultrafast charging is needed Nissan was one of the first companies to offer free charging and was soon followed by others. Today, we have 5 standards, and counting. They are all competing for viability when they should be focused solely on interoperability and give the consumer a reason to buy electric.

CHAdeMO EV fast charging
CHAdeMO EV fast charging adapter for a Tesla vehicle.

CHAdeMO’s Secretary General, Dave Yoshida, explains how the new CHAdeMO standard has further uses and aims to provide a solid option for more vehicle classes that need a stronger charge:

“The publication of the new version of the protocol is part of our broader efforts to expand the CHAdeMO protocol to a wider variety of vehicles, including trucks and buses. With the CAN-based communication, it will be a relatively simple but reliable option to charge large commercial vehicles and other industrial applications. Combining these vehicles with the V2X technology, for which CHAdeMO is the only enabler today amongst the major international charging standards with readily available products in the market, fleet owners would benefit from an even larger set of options to rethink the TCO (total cost of ownership) of their vehicles, as these vehicles can not only charge but discharge electricity and support the Grid.”

The German Competition Says No To CHAdeMO, Launches CCS

CHAdeMO EV fast charging
CCS EV fast charging

CHAdeMO was the original EV fast charging standard, and then CCS was the challenger. You might recall the infamous video tape standard wars of the 1980s that forced an inferior VHS standard instead of the far superior Betamax. Ultimately, Sony had more advertising money and “won” the VHS war to safeguard our memories, now heavily degraded. A normal society would vow to never reiterate this nonsense, but the CD wars confirmed the cultural amnesia and were followed by the DVD standard war on top of the various international TV standards. To drive the point home, how about the most grotesque standard of them all? That would be the infamous Universal Serial Bus, or USB, plug that comes with at least 6 different variations despite being a so-called universal standard? HDMI, anyone?

Back in the jungle, the CCS fast-charging protocol came new in 2011 and decided it could do better than the de facto CHAdeMO standard already used by thousands of early EV adopters. It was improved by including the standardized Level 2 plug, the SAE J 1772, into the fast charging nozzle — that saved having to have two completely separate ports.

However, those who supported that early effort were early EV doubters, unsurprisingly. Because this lack of unity further slowed the fast pace of EV adoptions, which automakers want until they can figure out how to make money on those darn electric cars.

CHAdeMO Is Here To Stay

History has shown over and over that those easily avoidable business wars always leave the consumer to foot the bill. It also slows down the adoption of newer and cleaner technologies against everyone’s best interest.

Today, we have CHAdeMO, CCS, Tesla’s fast charging system, and China’s very own as well. More likely than not, they will all stick around, limiting fast charging options for all EV drivers compared to what could have been possible and raising costs. My, what an entangled web we weave!

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Nicolas Zart

Nicolas was born and raised around classic cars of the 1920s, but it wasn't until he drove an AC Propulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Ever since he has produced green mobility content on various CleanTech outlets since 2007 and found his home on CleanTechnica. He grew up in an international environment and his communication passion led to cover electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, renewable energy, test drives, podcasts, shoot pictures, and film for various international outlets in print and online. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he has forged in those industries. His favorite taglines are: "There are more solutions than obstacles." and "Yesterday's Future Now"

Nicolas Zart has 572 posts and counting. See all posts by Nicolas Zart