The writing has been on the wall for a while now, and Nissan's decision to transition from CHAdeMO to CCS for the upcoming Ariya was seen by many as the final blow for the once-dominant DC fast charging standard in North America and Europe.
We now learn that buried deep on page 46 of Electrify America's Cycle 3 ZEV National Investment Plan (the EA National Investment Plan is used for the entire US except California) the company explains it will no longer install CHAdeMO connectors on its charging stations, beginning in January of 2022 (the beginning of Cycle 3).
However, on page 50 of its California Cycle 3 ZEV Investment plan, Electrify America explains that although CHAdeMO usage accounts for only 7% of network utilization in California, they will continue to install CHAdeMO plugs. Although it does say that Electrify America "will continue to monitor the evolving field to determine the best mix of connectors and technology to deploy."
We imagine that the network would prefer to drop CHAdeMO entirely, but the California Air Resource Board (CARB) most likely won't allow them to. CARB oversees Electrify America's plan in California, and the EPA oversees the National plan. Our sources at Electrify America tell us that overall, only 5% of all energy dispensed on the Electrify America network is from CHAdeMO connectors.
From Electrify America's Cycle 3 National Investment Plan:
In recent years, the automotive industry has converged on CCS as the non-proprietary standard of choice for vehicles in the U.S. Nissan, the last BEV manufacturer producing CHAdeMO vehicles for the North American market, has announced that the upcoming Ariya will use CCS charging (Goodwin, 2020).
As sales of all new BEVs shift to CCS, Electrify America forecasts that over 90% of the non-Tesla BEVs in operation will use CCS by 2025. Electrify America is already seeing this shift at our stations. CHAdeMO usage (including Tesla via CHAdeMO adapter) accounted for just 9% of station usage in the first quarter of 2021, down from 15% in 2019, despite CHAdeMO chargers making up over 20% of all DCFC equipment at our stations.
In addition, whereas historically a CHAdeMO adapter was the only way to fast charge Tesla vehicles outside of the Supercharger network, in late-2020 Setec Power released a CCS to Tesla adapter (Moloughney, 2020), thereby unlocking CCS chargers to interested Tesla drivers.
Through Cycles 1 and 2, Electrify America will have built over 800 CHAdeMO stations across the country. Together with nearly 5,000 chargers built by other networks, legacy CHAdeMO drivers have access to a robust charging network. At the time of writing, the ratio of CHAdeMO vehicles in operation to CHAdeMO DCFC is just 22:1.
Given this, Electrify America will focus its Cycle 3 investment on the future of electrification and deploy CCS as the non-proprietary standard at our stations. This action helps to reinforce the automotive manufacturers’ convergence on a single standard, reduces customer confusion, reduces capital and operating costs, and ultimately is expected to lead to increased EV adoption.
Interestingly, Electrify America cited my article here on InsideEVs that reviewed the new CCS1 adapter for Tesla vehicles as another reason why CHAdeMO was no longer needed on its sites. Since a CCS adapter is now available, Tesla owners no longer need to use a CHAdeMO adapter to charge on DC Fast charge stations. It's rumored that soon Tesla will also be releasing its own CCS adapter for the North American market.
However, the main reasons given were low utilization rate and the fact that very few new electric vehicles will use CHAdeMO, and Electrify America wanted to invest its resources into the future of EV charging, not the past.
The move shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone following the EV industry. Nissan was the only EV maker to sell CHAdeMO equipped vehicles in North America in any real volume. Mitsubishi has the Outlander PHEV that still uses CHAdeMO, and Kia used to sell the Soul EV here, which had a CHAdeMO inlet, but they no longer import it here. Kia has since moved to CCS for the Niro and upcoming EV6. Without Nissan's support, CHAdeMO was destined to be phased out, it was just a matter of when.
However, owners of CHAdeMO-equipped vehicles will still have the existing 800+ Electrify America charging stations that have CHAdeMO connectors, plus the many hundreds of CHAdeMO stations currently in service in the US on other EV charging networks like Blink, EVgo, ChargePoint, and more.
Personally, I think it's the right move at the right time. Beginning in 2022 very few electric vehicles sold in the US and Europe will employ CHAdeMO and it's about time the industry moves towards a single DC fast charge standard. I'm sure other networks are going to follow Electrify America's decision to end new CHAdeMO installations at some point soon. I also believe Nissan should create a CCS to CHAdeMO adapter for its legacy LEAF owners, so they aren't totally left behind.
I also believe CARB will also allow Electrify America to begin to phase out new CHAdeMO installations in California at some point during the 30-month Cycle 3 period that begins in January of 2022 and ends in July of 2024. Without any new CHAdeMO vehicles coming to market, it only makes sense to begin to focus solely on CCS.
Let us know your thoughts on this in the comment section below. Should CHAdeMO support continue, or is it in the best interest of the industry to put it behind us and concentrate on CCS proliferation as rapidly as possible?