CHAdeMO DC fast-charging to run at up to 150 kilowatts, starting in 2017

As more longer-range electric vehicles go on sale, the charging infrastructure that supports them will need to adapt to bigger batteries. When it comes to DC fast charging, more powerful charging stations will be needed to charge electric cars with larger-capacity battery packs within a reasonable amount of time. With that in mind, the consortium behind the CHAdeMO fast-charging standard plans to move toward stations that operate at 150 kilowatts, from the current 50-kW average.

The move to higher-power charging was announced at the CHAdeMO Association General Assembly in Tokyo last week, along with station upgrade plans. An amendment to the CHAdeMO technical protocol accounting for higher-power charging will be released later this year, while the first 150-kW stations will be installed in 2017, a CHAdeMO Association statement said. The CHAdeMO protocol and connector set is favored by Asian manufacturers, and is currently used by the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and Kia Soul EV in the U.S. market.

Plugs and other equipment will remain the same, so cars set up for both the current 50-kW standard and the 150-kW standard will be able to use the same stations. The stations will switch to a lower-power setting for current cars that are configured only to charge at 50 kW. The higher power will allow cars with larger battery packs to charge in roughly the same amount of time as cars with smaller packs can on the current system—generally up to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes.

The move to 150-kW charging also positions CHAdeMO to compete better with other fast-charging standards. Tesla's "Supercharger" network currently runs at 125 kW, and has been designed to run at up to 150 kW.

Audi and Porsche have also discussed 150-kW charging on the Combined Charging Standard (CCS) for their upcoming electric cars. Audi will launch an all-electric SUV based on the e-Tron Quattro concept from the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show in 2018. Porsche will launch a production version of the Mission E sedan—another 2015 Frankfurt concept—by the end of the decade.

CHAdeMO needs 150-kW stations to compete with the other standards, but it also has plans to potentially leapfrog them.Officials plan to conduct studies for 350-kW charging, but will only commercialize it if there is sufficient perceived market demand. A decision on 350-kW charging is expected to be made around 2018.

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