CHAdeMO is one of several competing charging plug (and vehicle communication) standards for DC fast charging. (DC fast-charging is also referred to as Mode 4 charging – see FAQ on charging Modes).
Competitors to CHAdeMO for DC charging are CCS1 & 2 (Combined Charging System), Tesla (two types: US/Japan and rest of world) and the Chinese GB/T system. (See table 1 below).
CHAdeMO stands for CHArge de MOde, and was developed in 2010 by a collaboration of Japanese EV manufacturers and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company).
CHAdeMO is currently capable of delivering up to 62.5 kW (500 V DC at a maximum of 125 A), with plans to increase this to 400kW. However all installed CHAdeMO chargers are 50kW or less at the time of writing.
For early EVs such as the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi iMiEV, a full charge using CHAdeMO DC charging could be achieved in less than 30 minutes.
However for the current crop of EVs with much larger batteries, a maximum 50kW charging rate is no longer adequate for achieving true ‘fast-charge’. (The Tesla supercharger system is capable of charging at more than twice this rate at 120kW, and the CCS DC system is now capable of up to seven times the current 50kW speed of CHAdeMO charging).
It is worth noting that to initiate and control charging, CHAdeMO uses the CAN communications system. This is the common vehicle communication standard, thus making it potentially compatible with the Chinese GB/T DC standard (with which the CHAdeMO association is currently in talks to produce a common standard) but incompatible with the CCS charging systems without special adaptors that are not readily available.
Table 1: Comparison of major AC and DC charging sockets (excluding Tesla)