Friday, March 25, 2016

The Fast Charging Standards Race


Back in the early days of the Third Age of the Electric Car, the need for range and the ability to go long distances in a 100% electric car was a hot topic, because EV's needed to get out of their natural habitat (Metropolitan Areas) and avoid mistakes of past lives.

One of the easiest ways to increase the pure electric cars ability to go farther, is through Fast-Charging, a sort of refueling of a gas car, but made in an EV, you arrive at a predetermined place, refuel/charge and minutes later, you can resume your journey, this time with a full tank/battery.

The first to establish a standard protocol for these kind of machines were the Japanese, in 2010, having named it CHAdeMO, an abbreviation of "CHARge de MOve", or "Move by Charge", with the charging rate usually set at around 50kW, but it can go up to 62.5 kW. 

The network quickly expanded in Japan, having already 582 Stations in March 2011, providing quick charging to the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi I-Miev, as well as to a number of other pilot-mode models.

In 2012, around the same time the Model S was launched, Tesla started to deploy their Supercharger stations, it was a necessity for the new model owners for their quick charge, because the Model S had batteries three or four times larger the regular BEV, so they needed also a three to four times higher charging rate to refill batteries, hence the 120 kW-capable Supercharger, it operates a bit like Apple, as other manufacturers are not compatible with them.

Finally, in 2013 a new Fast-Charging protocol emerged in Europe, the CCS, or Combined Charging System, which allows for a smaller plug and is allegedly more flexible to develop to higher charging rates than the CHAdeMO.

This new standard is supported by Ford, General Motors and the German automakers, competing with CHAdeMO for a Golden Standard in EV Fast Charging.

The Race

            Number of EV's sold per type of Fast Charger

Year Chademo CCS Tesla
2011 33301
2012 38852 2721
2013 72701 3391 22442
2014 100280 25521 31655
2015 105504 45177 50567

As is possible to see, Chademo (still) has the lead, having sold more than CCS and Tesla together, but the growth has stalled in 2015, while the other two continued to expand rapidly, and that despite the fact that CCS has been hampered by brands that are behind it are focusing on plug-in hybrids, where they don't include CCS.

2017 and 2018 will be all important years in the race between Chademo and CCS, as the Nissan Leaf will defend its lead over the CCS-compatible Chevrolet Bolt, Ford plug-ins and the German new BEV's.

A curious take on this Fast Charging standards race is given by the Hyundai-Kia Group, if the Kia Soul EV is playing by the Chademo team, the new Hyundai Ioniq EV has joined the adversary team...A change of mind by the Group or are they playing it safe, having players in both teams?

Finally, the Tesla SC is not intended to fight the other two, but as with its vehicles, the ever-expanding network and top-of-the-range charging abilities, it has carved a special (And desired) place in the market, a bit like Apple has done in the software world. 


  1. Jose,

    What about Chinese standard QC? I vaguely remember that it's different. There must be quite a few EVs that have it, no?

  2. The Ionic Chademo port can be explained since his "brother" the Kia Soul EV also has a chademo plug.

  3. In China world biggest quick charging network is beeing build last months up to 170 kW with GBT Chinese standard, also Tesla thinks about accepting it. BYD vehicles have the standard, Denza and Nissan Leaf as Venucia also. Until now only around 20.000 EVs GBT total.

  4. Tesla EVs are compatible with CHAdeMO via the CHAdeMO adapter so they are part of the CHAdeMO team.

    1. Tesla is also part of the CCS team now:

    2. Tesla is just an associate member of CharIN. Tesla EVs are not compatible with CCS (DC Combo).