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China updates its EV charging standard, claims cross-compatibility

China, the world’s largest new-car market and the largest market for EVs, will continue with its own national DC fast-charging standard.

On September 12, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation and National Administration approved three key aspects of ChaoJi-1, the next-generation version of the GB/T standard currently used in the Chinese market. Regulators released documents outlining general requirements, communication protocols between chargers and vehicles, and requirements for connectors.

The latest version of GB/T is suitable for high-power charging—up to 1.2 megawatts—and includes a new DC control pilot circuit to enhance safety. It’s also designed to be compatible with CHAdeMO 3.1, the latest version of the CHAdeMO standard that’s largely fallen out of favor with global automakers. Previous versions of GB/T were not compatible with other fast-charging standards.

ChaoJI GB/T charging connector

ChaoJI GB/T charging connector

The compatibility project started in 2018 as a collaboration between China and Japan, and later grew into an “international collaboration forum,” according to a press release from the CHAdeMO association. The first harmonized protocol, ChaoJi-2, was published in 2020, with testing protocols drafted in 2021.

CHAdeMO 3.1, which is now undergoing testing in Japan after pandemic-related delays, closely related to CHAdeMO 3.0, which was revealed in 2020 and offered up to 500 kw—claiming back-compatibility (given the proper adapter) with the Combined Charging Standard (CCS).

ChaoJI GB/T charging connector

ChaoJI GB/T charging connector

Despite the evolution, France, which took a founding role in the original CHAdeMO has shunned the new collaborative version with China, shifting to CCS instead. Nissan, which had been one of the most prominent users of CHAdeMO, and is allied with French automaker Renault, switched to CCS in 2020 for new EVs introduced from then on—starting for the U.S. with Ariya. The Leaf remains CHAdeMO for 2024, as it’s a carryover model.

The Leaf is the only new U.S.-market EV with CHAdeMO, and that’s unlikely to change. A long list of brands have adopted Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) going forward. Despite the name, NACS is not yet a standard, but the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is working on it.


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