The CHAdeMO Association announced yesterday that 2,000 direct current (DC) quick chargers are now in operation around the world, a doubling of the number of units from one year ago according to CHAdeMO.

The association also projects that by the end of 2013 the number of units installed will again double, reaching 4,000 DC chargers in operation.

“Today, we have more than 2,000 CHAdeMO quick-chargers in place in Europe and the US as well as Japan,” CHAdeMO’s president, Toshiyuki Shiga, said in a release.

“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.”

As of the end of last year Japan had gone from 833 to 1,381 CHAdeMO installations, while Europe increased to 601 from 158 units, and the U.S. from a mere 12 to 154.

Lengthy charging times and limited availability of charging equipment in public places for electric vehicles (EV) are one of the turnoffs prospective buyers cite as what prevents them from buying an EV. But with DC quick chargers, charge times can be a fraction of the time it takes with a standard charger would take to replenish an EV’s battery.

The other half of the equation is getting enough of these quick chargers spread around routes and places that will allow EV drivers to realize expanded driving ranges.

One of the most significant CHAdeMO installations is the West Coast Electric Highway, a 1,300-mile network, which has already close to 40 CHAdeMO quick-chargers installed every 25 to 50 miles along the West Coast of North America. The so-called Electric Highway effectively links British Columbia, Canada to Baja California.

CHAdeMO is a consortium of mostly Japanese companies with the target of establishing a standard for the charging of EVs. Shiga, CHAdeMO’s president, is also the COO for Nissan.

While the CHAdeMO standardized charger, created in 2010, clearly has an established lead, it does have competition in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J1772 “combo” quick charge coupler standard.


SAE combo charge coupler

The SAE combination charge coupler was developed by more than 190 experts from various fields within the EV industry, and while not currently installed in the volume of the CHAdeMO charger, is starting to see a growing development of installations.

Some form of standardization is helpful to EV consumers, but standardization hasn’t reached the level of the common 120-volt outlet and required plug found in just about every home and building in North America.

With different EV manufacturers using either CHAdeMO – like, naturally, the Nissan Leaf – while General Motors, VW, BMW, Ford, and several other large automakers, have gone with the SAE charge coupler, EV drivers for now will have to be cognizant of which type of charging unit they can use, and where they’re located.