CHINA AND JAPAN
DRIVE A GLOBAL
EV CHARGING EFFORT
The new standard will be backward compatible
with select charging stations
Two leading industry groups,
Japan’s CHAdeMO and the China
Electricity Council, announced last year
they would codevelop an ultrafast charging
protocol for electric vehicles. Now,
the partners, under the supervision of
the Japanese and Chinese governments,
are inviting other countries to join them.
Their goal is to develop a global standard
for all types of EVs by 2020.
CHAdeMO, a consortium of automotive,
power-generation, and IT companies
(including Nissan and Volvo), has
the largest global installation of DC
chargers for electric vehicles: 22,647
units operating in 71 countries as of
September. This includes more than
2,900 in North America and 7,900
CHAdeMO’s Chinese counterpart,
the China Electricity Council (CEC),
counts 270,000 chargers using its GB/T
standard installed in China and India.
Together, the two groups account for
more than 90 percent of the installed EV
fast-charger market—that is, DC charging
stations up to 120 kilowatts that connect
directly to the battery.
The new EV charger standard is codenamed
ChaoJi. Like its predecessors, the
ChaoJi standard will use the Controller
Area Network (CAN) bus to coordinate
communications between the electronic
control units for features such as airbags
and audio systems, without requiring
Maximum power for the new standard
is tentatively set at 900 kW
(1,500 × 600 amperes), which will be
capable of quickly charging large vehicles
such as earth-moving
buses, trucks, and helicopters. Whereas a 50-kW charger
takes about 30 minutes
to charge a 25-kilowatt-hour battery today,
a 900?kW charger of the future could
charge a 450?kWh battery in 30 minutes.
Before that happens, though,
CHAdeMO must modify its specifications
for upcoming chargers to handle 350 kW
and 500 kW-plus in the new ChaoJi standard.
The specifications will also require
manufacturers to include a new connector
design and liquid cooling cables.
Makoto Yoshida, secretary general of
the CHAdeMO Association and general
manager at Nissan, said in a recent press
briefing in Tokyo that the new protocol
will be backward compatible with the
present CHAdeMO and GB/T standards.
Yoshida added that the partners are also
thinking of developing a standard that
covers vehicles such as scooters, forklifts,
and lightweight cars. Such a charger
would be rated at between 2 and 20 kW.
Despite the current dominance of
the CHAdeMO and GB/T standards, a
third standard, developed by SAE International,
could pose a long-term threat
to ChaoJi. Named Combined Charging
System (CCS), it’s backed by BMW, Ford,
General Motors, Volkswagen, and others.
Although CCS was introduced in 2014,
(five years after CHAdeMO’s debut), its
acceptance is reportedly growing fast.
And a fourth proprietary standard,
devised by Tesla, is also gaining ground.
Confusion caused by incompatible
charger standards is one obstacle preventing
faster EV adoption. Other hurdles
include high price, limited charging
infrastructure, driving-range anxiety,
and slow charging times.
Should CHAdeMO and the CEC gain
support for an industry-wide standard
for ultrafast charging, it could eliminate
some of these hurdles. But the introduction
of another standard will likely be a
major headache for hardware developers,
says Kouhei Sagawa, an assistant
professor in electrical engineering at
Tokai University, in Tokyo. “This will
lead to an increase in the development
period and in the cost,” he says.
Sagawa points out that manufacturers
need to change the electrical design of
cars for each new standard, swap out
hardware mountings, and test electromagnetic
compatibility. To reduce this
burden, Sagawa says, the new standard
should maintain a close affinity with the
Meanwhile, CHAdeMO and the CEC
are pushing ahead. Yoshida says that,
provided there is agreement on backward
compatibility and the CAN bus, “we
welcome countries who are interested to
participate in developing the standard.”
Just how many countries take up that
invitation will likely determine whether
the new effort creates a truly global
standard or merely adds to the present