The length of time it takes to recharge an electric vehicle (EV) has been a major roadblock in their widespread adoption. Fast-charging systems, however, that offer a high-voltage DC charge in 20 minutes as opposed to a 4-hour AC charge, are currently being implemented at a rapid pace. The number of stations is expected to expand by factor of more than 100 from 2012 to 2020. Total fast-charging stations for EVs are set to reach 199,000 locations globally in 2020, up from just 1,800 in 2012.
Three fast-charging standards have risen to the top of the pack as viable solutions. CHAdeMO, backed by Japanese automotive leaders and industrial giants including Toyota, Nissa, Fuji Heavy Industries, and Tokyo Electric Power, began deployment in 2009 to spark EV adoption. There are currently as many as 2,445 CHAdeMO fast chargers in operation and more than 57,000 CHAdeMO-compatible EVs around the world, accounting for about 80% of the EV’s on the road.
Another solution, the combined charging system (CCS), offers owners the option of having a single charging inlet that can be used for all available charging methods, including 1-phase charging at an AC power source, high-speed AC charging with a 3-phase current connector at home or at public charging stations, DC charging at conventional household installation and DC fast charging at power-charging stations globally. CCS has already gained support from companies including Audi, BMW, GM, and Volkswagen.
Tesla Motors has also developed their own proprietary network of fast chargers, named “Superchargers,” which operate at a higher power than both CHAdeMO and CCS. The proprietary plug interface means that the chargers can only be used with Tesla vehicles, however.