Founded in 2010, CHAdeMO Association is a consortium of actors involved in electro-mobility – direct current (DC) electric vehicle (EV) charging technology to be more precise – with the mission of providing safe, affordable and timely charging to all EVs. They provide an internationally recognised DC charging standard of the same name (CHAdeMO). The company has over 450 member companies and organisation from 43 countries, of which some 140 members in Europe. Their main office is in Japan and they also have an office in France.

Apart from developing the charging technology, the Association sets certification test criteria for products developed by our members and oversees certification tests. Needless to say, CHAdeMO Association promotes electro-mobility in general and collaborate with other stakeholders to make sure they are compatible with other technologies.

CHAdeMO is also one of the most popular networks of DC fast chargers in the world. Thanks to their members and collaborators, there are over 32 000 CHAdeMO charge points in 89 countries with almost a million CHAdeMO-equipped vehicles on the roads.

Easy Engineering: What are your main strengths?

CHAdeMO Association: In evolving the CHAdeMO charging standard for EV charging, our highest priority goes to the safety and satisfaction of users. This is why the Association keeps the CHAdeMO protocol up-to-date and continues improving its functionalities by mobilising our members’ expertise and through collaboration with experts at the international standardisation arena to make charging systems as safe as possible.

In addition to adhering to the highest level of safety, our strength is in the robustness and simplicity of our technology. Based on CAN (Controller Area Network) communication and defining only the minimum necessary protocol between an EV and a charger, we are compatible with all and any adjacent systems like charge point operators back-end systems, roaming or payment solutions, including industry standards such as OCPP and OCPI.

Not only do we control charging, but we can draw energy back from the EV’s battery to feed back to home electric appliances or to the grid. CHAdeMO is the only international DC charging protocol that has defined discharging from the vehicle’s battery (Vehicle-to-X or V2X) with products readily available in the market. CHAdeMO believes that EV is a crucial element not only to decarbonise the transport sector but also to accelerate the smooth integration of renewable energy sources in the grid. Thanks to V2X using an EV as both a vehicle and mobile battery, it is possible to optimise energy usage. For example, you can store energy in the EV battery from solar photovoltaic panels and use for cooking in the evening, or you can charge when the electricity is inexpensive for use during peak tariff hours. EVs can be aggregated for more capacity and provide advanced services to the grid like frequency control as well.

Another pillar of our strengths is the aforementioned certification, which is also part of the mechanism to guarantee utmost safety and interoperability. CHAdeMO was the first international DC charging standard to establish a state-of-the art, third-party certification system in the world.

Our member service also includes co-marketing opportunities. For example, our members’ certified products are listed on our website and brochures. We also participate in e-mobility related trade fairs and organise exhibition booths to display our members’ products, which provide visitors a one-stop shop for the latest CHAdeMO-related products / services, and our members a cluster effect for sales leads.

E.E: What’s the news for 2020 new products?

CHAdeMO Association: As the developer of a technical standard, the Association does not produce or commercialise chargers or any other products. Our members do. We can however speak about the latest version of our protocol, CHAdeMO 3.0, which we published earlier this year. CHAdeMO 3.0 is the next generation ultra-fast DC charging standard and is a result of collaborative work between CHAdeMO and the China Electricity Council (CEC), an organisation that develops the DC charging standard (GB/T) in China, as part of the global harmonisation efforts.

There are today 3 international DC charging standards with 4 variations. Together with Tesla’s proprietary charging solution, a handful of plugs are used in various parts of the world. We initiated this harmonisation process with the Chinese standard by making a brand-new plug that is backward compatible not only with the existing CHAdeMO and GB/T standards but also with CCS systems (both the US and EU versions), so that in the future we can converge, if the stakeholders so choose. CHAdeMO 3.0 was a first step of harmonising the hardware for the 2 charging standards and we continue to work with the international experts from Europe, Asia, North America and Oceania for a unified communication.

CHAdeMO 3.0 enables charging with the power over 500kW (max current 600A), which means that 5 minutes of charging enables you to drive 400km. Despite such high charging power, we succeeded in making the connector light and compact with a smaller diameter cable than the current versions, thanks to the liquid-cooling technology as well as to the removal of locking mechanism from the connector. As mentioned above, thanks to ensured backward compatibility, today’s CHAdeMO chargers can charge both the current EVs as well as the future EVs via an adapter or using a multi-standard charger.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

CHAdeMO Association: CHAdeMO Association is committed to contributing to the reduction of GHG emissions from the transport sector. To support and accelerate the industry’s move towards lower-emission transports, the Association developed CHAdeMO 3.0 to harmonise with the Chinese standard, in hopes of reducing the costs of charging for EV users. The first commercial vehicles using CHAdeMO 3.0 are expected as early as 2022, followed by other types of vehicles like passenger EVs. CHAdeMO already offers charging to all categories of vehicles including two-wheelers, trucks, construction equipment, ships and even aircrafts.

Along with the evolution of charging technology, we also see changes in EV users’ charging behaviour. Thanks to battery performance improvements and increasing deployment of charging points, users can now charge their EVs almost whenever and wherever they want. As a charging technology innovator, CHAdeMO accompanies such variations of charging needs from low-power (bi-directional) charging at home or office, medium power top-up at destinations like supermarkets, to high-power charging for long-haul drives.

E.E: What goals do you have for 2020?

CHAdeMO Association: We hope to continue strengthening our presence in key markets and expand our reach to newer markets at the same time this year. According to our charger count as of Q1/2020, the number of CHAdeMO charge points grew 28% in one year, reaching a global total number of 32 300.

We are, of course, aware that the Covid-19 pandemic has seriously impacted the automotive industry and its value chain at large. However, the EV sector seems to have been spared by the crisis for the moment. According to the ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association) statistics, the market share of electric vehicles has significantly increased in the first quarter of 2020 to 6.8% (from 2.5% in Q1 2019) despite the overall decline for diesel and petrol vehicle sale. IEA (International Energy Agency)’s latest Global EV Outlook 2020 (GEVO) reaffirms this and estimates that while the overall passenger car market will contract by 15% this year relative to 2019, sales of electric passenger and commercial light-duty vehicles will remain broadly at 2019 levels, accounting for about 3% of global car sales in 2020.