CHAdeMO Electric Car Quick Charge Protocol Becomes Official International Standard

Seven years after it debuted as a method for rapid charging an electric car’s battery pack, the CHAdeMO Direct Current Quick Charge protocol has been accepted by the International Electrotechnical Commission as an official international quick charging standard.

CHAdeMO quick charging is the most widely-used DC quick charging standard for electric cars worldwide

CHAdeMO quick charging is the most widely-used DC quick charging standard for electric cars worldwide

First introduced in 2009 with the Japanese-market Mitsubishi i-Miev, the CHAdeMO standard is capable of recharging the battery packs of cars like the Nissan LEAF and Kia Soul EV from empty to 80 percent full in as little as 30 minutes.  Used on everything from electric motorcycles to full-size electric busses, CHAdeMO is also the world’s most commonly used DC quick charge standard, with what we’d estimate to be more than 100,000 CHAdeMO-equipped vehicles on the road.

Officially accepted as a standard back in January but only detailed on the IEC website this week, the CHAdeMO DC quick charge standard joins two other DC charging standards and three other DC charging connectors listed under IEC 61851-23: the GB/T quick charge standard favoured by China; the J1772 Combo 1 DC quick charge standard from the U.S.; and the Mennekes Combo 2 quick charge standard from Germany.

Produced after four years of collaboration between equipment manufacturers, automakers and the IEC’s experts, IEC61851-23 sets details specifics for each standard, including the physical dimensions of each connector, the required safety interlock protocols, and the way in which the car and charging station must communicate with one another.

Don’t assume however that the inclusion of CHAdeMO under IEC61851-23 means that the European Union will cancel plans to phase out the installation of CHAdeMO charging stations by the end of 2018.  That’s because while the IEC has members from 82 different countries around the world — including some from Europe — the European Union has chosen to only use SAE-approved charging standards from 2019.  CHAdeMO is not SAE-approved.

CHAdeMO's complicated charging connector can put up to 100 kW of instantaneous power into an EV's battery pack.

CHAdeMO’s complicated charging connector can put up to 100 kW of instantaneous power into an EV’s battery pack.

With an estimated 1,000 CHAdeMO DC quick charge stations due to be installed in Europe this year however, we suspect that decision may well be reversed if CHAdeMO continues to massively outnumber all of the other IEC61851-23 charge stations in Europe as is the current situation.

 It’s also worth noting that IEC61851-23 doesn’t include either the Mennekes Type 2 Charging connector within its standard. While the Type 2 charging connector is primarily designed for AC charging connectivity, its own specifications does allow for DC quick charging, which explains why Tesla Motors uses a modified version of the Type 2 connector on its European DC Supercharger stations. 

While we’re on the subject, neither Tesla’s U.S. or European Supercharger plugs are listed in IEC61851-23, although given the number of Supercharger stations currently being installed worldwide by the Californian automaker, we don’t think that’s going to slow Tesla down much.

Admittedly, the official agreement that CHAdeMO, GB/T, Combo 1 and Combo 2 are international electric car DC quick charge standards won’t change much for day-to-day EV users. But it at least should discourage anyone else from making a new, completely unrelated standard, right?


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  • just someone old

    standards are only standards until someone finds a better standardnntape -> (vinyl) -> cd -> dvd -> bluraynand they can all live gently togethernnhow many different plugs are there in the world?n3 new ones will not make a differencennbut if you enforce a “standard” , you will stop progres and stop the advance of technology (of EV’s in this case)

  • Karboxilas .

    The concept of Chademo is not as good as of Combo system because it demands 2 separate conectors in a car – one for AC and one for DC charging. This is not a good way.. I support Combos.