One of the key EV charging success factors is user experience — which encapsulates a large number of different factors — but one of which is the standardization of charging connector types. Currently in the US there are three DC fast charging connector types: CCS, Tesla, and CHAdeMO.
Most industry observers believe that in the long run it’s important that all electric vehicles use the same standard connector type — which effectively means CCS. While the Tesla charging experience is easily the best today, it is proprietary to Tesla as opposed to the open standard of CCS. In Europe, Tesla has moved to the CCS connector and is currently piloting its Superchargers being available to non-Tesla EVs in The Netherlands, France, Norway, Belgium, and Germany.
But putting the Tesla question aside, policymakers at the federal, state and local/regional level along with utilities are currently wrestling with how to design requirements for those submitting proposals for EV charging infrastructure grants and loans. And one question revolves around what the go-forward support should be for the CHAdeMO connector and EVs that use this standard.
In the US only two currently available EVs use the CHAdeMO charging standard and connector — the iconic Nissan LEAF which helped spawn the modern era of EVs, and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. As of the end of 2021, these two EVs accounted for only an estimated 7.6% of EVs sold in the US since 2010, and our EVAdoption forecast has this dropping to 2.3% by the end of 2025.
But, when looking at the ratio of the total sales of these two EVs to the number of DC fast chargers in the US, drivers of these CHAdeMO-using EVs actually have the best ratio of vehicles to chargers at 31 EVs to 1 DC fast charger. While there are a lot of nuances to this issue including the LEAF being a highly affordable used EV, it seems that the current number of CHAdeMO charging stations could actually adequately support the drivers of the Nissan LEAF for years to come. We’ll explore this topic and issue further in a future article on the EVAdoption site.
CHAdeMO is the Japanese EV rapid-charging standard. However, outside of China (with their own national GB/T charging standard), the worldwide EV community is quickly adopting the EU-required CCS-2 EV rapid-charging standard, despite the huge designed-by-committee abomination that is the CCS-2 dual connector. CCS-2 is rated up to 500kW/1000Vdc and supports V2G/V2H/V2x; even Tesla is adopting it, adding CCS-2 charging cables to their 450Vdc Supercharger stations (North America will be last). EV manufacturers must support CCS-2 charging in order to sell their vehicles in the EU, why use anything else?
Besides, out of all the Japanese automakers, only Nissan has been serious about BEVs over the past decade, with their CHAdeMO-equipped Leaf. The EU, North American and South Korean EV manufacturers have all embraced CCS-2, and the Chinese equip their EV exports with CCS-2 charging jacks.
Despite its initial technical advantages and promises of new, improved versions to follow, CHAdeMO is a dying EV charging standard outside of the Japanese archipelago. Eventually they will collectively awaken from their hydrogen fuel cell stupor, adopt CCS-2 and learn how to make BEVs instead of pumping out high-profit ICE and ICE-hybrid vehicles.
I expect that CCS-2 retrofit kits and smart CCS-2-to-CHAdeMO charging adapters will be developed for long-term support of older CHAdeMO-equipped BEVs.
Dan, thanks for the detailed response. I reached out to both Nissan and Mitsubishi, and neither of them are planning CHAdeMO to CCS adapters or retrofits – though they believe that some third-party adapters are being developed. CHAdeMo is basically dead in the US as you pointed out – but the key point and question and purpose of the analysis – is how should it be supported going forward with public EV charging infrastructure money?
Considering only chargers per vehicle leaves out a big piece of the picture. The actual locations of those chargers is key. Because there is currently no centrally-planned charger placement, the distance between CHAdeMO chargers along highly-traveled roads and highways can easily be significantly higher than 50 miles, the spacing outlined in the President’s newly-announced plan. Regardless of how quickly CHAdeMO gets phased out for new vehicles, those whose current vehicles use it don’t deserve to be left out of careful infrastructure planning.