As the name implies, quick-chargers recharge batteries in minutes rather than hours, to build range confidence of an EV and greatly enhance the practicality of zero-emission transport.
Commenting on reaching the milestone of more than 2,000 CHAdeMO quick-chargers, Toshiyuki Shiga, President of the CHAdeMO Association – the driving force behind the global spread of quick-charging infrastructure - said: “One year ago there were around 1,000 quick-chargers in the world, but most of those were in Japan.
“Today, we have more than 2,000 CHAdeMO quick-chargers in place in Europe and the US as well as Japan. There’s even a CHAdeMO quick-charger in oil-rich Abu Dhabi. And plans are in place to more than double this figure again, above 4,000, by the end of 2013.”
The CHAdeMO Association was founded in 2010 by a number of companies at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution keen to establish a standard format for quick-charging networks.
The Association represents a cross-industry member network from fields ranging from electric and ICT manufacturers, automakers, utilities, local governments, and charging service operators. It now has more than 430 member organisations across 26 countries with Association members in Europe including PSA Peugeot Citroën, ABB, Schneider Electric, Siemens, E.ON, ENEL and Endesa.
Indeed, CHAdeMO is the only DC quick-charging system available today to drivers of electric vehicles and the equipment is used by more than 50 operators across Europe and the US.
Currently there are more than 70,000 CHAdeMO-compatible electric vehicles across the world from 19 CHAdeMO-compatible models including the Nissan LEAF, Peugeot Partner Electric, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Citroën C-Zero, and Toyota EQ.
One of the most significant CHAdeMO installations is the West Coast Electric Highway, a 1,300-mile (2,100kms) network running along the West Coast of North America linking British Columbia to Baja California, which has already close to 40 CHAdeMO quick-chargers installed every 25 to 50 miles.
CHAdeMO quick-chargers can be found in 23 countries across Europe at strategic locations such as highway service stations linking major cities as well as in shopping centre car parks conveniently allowing drivers to ‘refuel’ while they shop.
Norway, where much of the country’s electrical supply is generated by renewable energy, has embraced the EV. This, in turn, has led to a rapid expansion in rapid charge installations. From just one in 2011, today there are more than 50 across the country with more being installed every month.
Real-world experience from Japan shows how a network of rapid chargers changes how a typical EV is used. When there were just two CHAdeMO quick-chargers in place on the 218 miles (350kms) highway linking Tokyo and Nagoya to the west, just 19 per cent of EV drivers made the trip.
But once the number of quick-chargers had grown to six, all placed at strategic intervals along the route, EV drivers had the confidence of knowing that they were never far from a quick-charge. As a result, the figure using the highway jumped to 46 per cent.
A CHAdeMO quick-charger delivers 50 kW of high voltage direct current (DC) via a special safety approved connector with specification that can go up to 100kW. By delivering the DC charge directly to the car’s power source, the CHAdeMO quick-charger can replenish a battery to around 80 per cent of its capacity in as little as 15-30 minutes.
Since its introduction in 2009, the cost of a CHAdeMO quick-charger has been reduced by more than half to US$20-30,000 while its physical dimensions have also been cut by half.
The CHAdeMO quick-charger is expected to be included in the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard in the second half of 2013 and the process will be expanded to allow for third party certification to increase the availability of CHAdeMO quick-chargers.
It will be needed as global EV sales are expected to grow significantly in 2013. Nissan will be building LEAF in the UK and US and PSA Peugeot Citroën is to start EV production in Spain, factors certain to result in increased demand for a rapid expansion of quick-charging networks.
The name CHAdeMO is an abbreviation of the phrase ‘CHArge de Move’ or ‘charge for moving.’ It is also a word play on a Japanese phrase, which translates as ‘How about some tea?’ a reference to the short time it takes to quick-charge an EV battery.
A CHAdeMO quick-charger needs about 15 minutes to boost a partially depleted battery to 80 percent capacity and takes approximately 30 minutes if the battery has little or no charge left.