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CHAdeMO and China release new EV quick-charging standard, in a bid to leapfrog the industry

On April 24, the CHAdeMO Association released the 3.0 version of its charging protocol. It was co-developed by the China Electricity Council, setting up a global battle of EV quick-charging protocols between a Japan-China alliance – and automakers in Europe and the US that use the CCS standard.

What do we know about the just-released CHAdeMO 3.0 standard? Its features include:

  • A connector that’s light and compact with a smaller diameter cable
  • Brand-new, identical plug with GB/T protocols
  • DC charging with power over 500kW (maximum current 600A)
  • Liquid-cooling technology
  • Locking/unlocking mechanism from the connector
  • Backward compatibility of the CHAdeMO 3.0-compliant vehicles with the existing DC fast charging standards (CHAdeMO, GB/T, and possibly CCS). Presumably, there will be adapters for Tesla vehicles.

Let’s not forget that CHAdeMO was designed with bi-directional charging as a core feature. The CCS standard is at least a few years behind in adding two-way capabilities.

Bidirectional charging will be a breakthrough for the integration of EV charging, home power, and managing grid services. It allows not only the charging of EV batteries but also the ability to take energy from the car and push it back to the power grid.

Nissan Leaf V2X

Japanese versions of the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander, which use the CHAdeMo standard, are the only vehicles today that have the bi-directional capability. Last month, Nissan displayed a system that uses vehicle-to-grid technology to allow the Leaf to power a 7/11 store.

The next generation of home chargers, such as Quasar, will use DC to provide a bi-directional flow of electrons.

Global DC-charging protocol smackdown

In CHAdeMo’s official release, the organization said that Japan and China have agreed to continue working together on the technical development and to promote this next-generation charging technology. With this collaboration, China’s emerging standard, dubbed “ChaoJi,” becomes a rising force.

India is also expected to join the team. South Korean automakers have danced DC protocols, most recently swaying toward CCS. But CHAdeMO says that South Korea, as well as Southeast Asian countries, have expressed their “strong interests” in participating in the development.

The testing requirements for CHAdeMO 3.0 specification are expected to be issued within a year. These slides from a February 2020 presentation by the CHAdeMo Association show the potential for ChaoJi:

Electrek’s Take

The stage is being set of the next global battle of DC-charging capabilities. For the past few years, CCS seemed to dominate with CHAdeMO in decline.

But the 3.0 version of CHAdeMO uses a lighter, sleeker connector, has 500-kW capability, and features bi-directionality.

Add those advantages and the alignment of CHAdeMO with China, the world’s largest EV market, and we could see a change to the balance of EV charging protocols.

The first salvo in the battle will be the launch of ChaoJi-complaint EVs, expected as early as 2021.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.