What Are The Actual Power Limits of Available DC Quick Charging Standards?

SEP 19 2014 BY MARK KANE 58

Tesla Supercharger

Tesla Supercharger

The young electric car market is already large/old enough to have 5 different DC quick charging standards, which comes on top of several AC charging standards.

Besides CHAdeMO, we see two versions of Combined Charging System (Type 1 in North America and Type 2 in Europe), then GB/T in China and two versions of Tesla Motors connector (one for North America and one for Europe).

As we already know, CHAdeMO equipment is typically rated for 125 A and 500 V, which translates to 62.5 kW and CHAdeMO Association from time to time states that their system is 200 A ready, so 100 kW should be considered as doable. However, now most CHAdeMO chargers have only 40-50 kW, and only the Blink was rated for a full 60 kW.

Tesla began its adventure from 90 kW level, then increased to 120 kW in North America.  The connector in North America is unique and Superchargers in Europe have a different one. It looks like Type 2 AC Mennekes and even is compatibility with Type 2 for 3-phase charging, but can be used for DC – 120 kW or even 135 kW announced for Germany.

Also the Combined Charging System comes in two versions – one for North America, and one for Europe. In both cases, typical chargers have power of only 50 kW, which is enough to charge in 30 minutes until you don’t have large battery pack and most cars don’t.

But what is the power limit for CCS standards? According to German manufacturer Phoenix Contact, Type 1 is available for sale rated up to 200 A and 600 V on the DC lines, which translates to 120 kW at best. European Type 2 seems much more capable with 200 A and 850 V, which in theory gives 170 kW.

And finally there is Chinese DC connector – GB/T, which can run up to 250 A and 750 V, which means that it is actually the most powerful DC fast-charge standard in the world with 187.5 kW!

DC charging cables and inlets (CCS Type 1, CCS Type 2 & GB/T standards)  -  Phoenix Contact catalogue

DC charging cables and inlets (CCS Type 1, CCS Type 2 & GB/T standards) – Phoenix Contact catalogue

Tesla Model S plug in North America

Tesla Model S plug in North America

Tesla Model S inlet and plug in Europe

Tesla Model S inlet and plug in Europe

Categories: Charging

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58 Comments on "What Are The Actual Power Limits of Available DC Quick Charging Standards?"

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Is standardization just a dream?

Yeah, looking like a nightmare right now. lol

Only if you believe the cell phone companies will standardize also. lol

Sadly, compatibility is the biggest effective limit on power. A Tesla in New England could theoretically do either 120kw, or 50kw, but it’s stuck with onboard hardware it can’t use, driving by, the now, numerous DC chargers it cannot connect to.

In MA, VT, NH and ME, as of this writing:
CHAdeMO: 26
SuperChargers: 0

Reality is tough love.

The reality is, there is an adapter available for that… :p

The reality is that adapter is just a theory. for now anyway…

Actually it is a feature.

pray tell, how is the as yet to ship CHaDemo adapter a feature?

If you have $1000.

The reality is that you can drive across the country on the Tesla SuperCharger network today.

Three of the four states you mentioned are tiny, and unless you were specifically driving into Maine from one of those states, the SuperCharger network that you would actually need is to the west and south of those states. In other words, already sufficient for most trips, and getting better by the week.

On the other hand, if you have a Chademo equipped car, you can’t really leave your own city in places places in the United States, because all of your chargers are clustered downtown at Whole Foods.

Maybe whole foods in your part of the US. In many parts the only QC you’ll find is at a Nissan LEAF dealership – with the access rules up to the whim of the dealer.

To be fair, those urban and dealership ChaDeMo while seeming almost useless for road trips, can be essential for people who want a BEV but live in rented homes, apartments, or otherwise cannot reliably charge at home.

Now that the data indicate frequent QC is ok for the battery as long as it’s not too excessively frequent (multiple times a day), it is a viable option and one that both Nissan and EV advocates should point out.

At least the infrastructure for *that* is already available in most major urban centers.


Even Assaf admits they are next to useless for road trips. It boils down to the fact that you cannot count on the sole dealership DCFC to be available/working/accessible when you want it.

DCFC’s should be build next to freeways. Bunch of stalls too.

Well, reading TMC I find many reporting they leave cars home for ski trips, Maine trips, or other round-trips that barely leave one of these states. There is even a thread on installing more plugshare, HPWC compatible, outlets at 20kw not 50…or 120kw.

I’m not dredging. This is current:

Beyond holding feet to fire, what surprises me is the criticism of CHAdeMO? Watts are watts, and we’re still talking about L3!! Without even having any other practical option beyond 10kw a/c (20kw HPWC is rare), I doubt you’d be cursing a CHAdeMO on some cold night, where even if the one 30 miles away was blocked/taken/broken, you’d still be at the one that worked, thankfully charging.

44kw CHAdeMO is fine for topping up a Tesla, since once it reaches a certain level the max drops below that any aay.

Beta Tesla CHAdeMO adapters have been in some peoples hands for a while, and the early Japanese customers each received an adapter with their cars.

I think the real criticism is that they’ve installed them in groups of 1 so you could easily have waits. And that’d become a point of contention.

And the lack of Northern New England chargers is a continual complaint. Tesla is graaaadddually working their way up, having recently got approvals for a couple more locations that begin a route up to VT and NH and their new Bourne supercharger near the Cape is almost done. Maybe, just maybe they’ll get some way up before winter, but to be honest, I think they’re thinking they can put them off until the Model X arrives.

Luckily the Model S has enough range to drive past those charging stations!

CHAdeMO is so slow not being able to use one is not much of a loss. It’s a painful experience. If the chargers get upgraded to be fast enough to be useful they’ll be compatible with at lest the CCS standard.

How exactly would a “CCS” be an upgrade? CHAdeMO is 200 amp capable, just like CCS might be some day.

As pointed out elsewhere in the comments, the voltage is entirely dependent on what the battery is.

Power is volt * amps = kW

As importantly, what are the *lower* wattage limits of each standard? I’d like to use a solar tarp for auxiliary charging rather than a briefcase generator, and that means I should use the DC port, unless I want to lose precious electrons to 2 redundant inversion processes (PV–>DC/AC–>AC/DC–>Battery)

Interesting idea.

Those plugs are ridiculous compared to the Tesla plug (not shown).


If we have adapters I have not problem with hem.

Keep in mind that the max voltage doesn’t really matter. Some standard can say they support 1200 volts at 120 amps, for 144 kW, but since the most any EV on the road today will draw is 400 volts (determined by the battery pack), that is really only a 48 kW charger. It’s the amps that matter, since I don’t see anyone making a pack with more than 360v nominal any time soon (since that would make it unable to charge on existing quick chargers and make wall charging even less efficient).

Excellent point, Phil. On top of that, many of the DC chargers that are supposedly rated for 40KW or more are often limited to 25KW. In addition, many of those chargers were never QA’d for long sessions with larger batteries so the Tesla adapter (coming soon Spring 2014) had to cut back the power to prevent them from crashing. The chademo association can make claims about their specs but EVers have to face the reality and it ain’t pretty. Especially when so many of the Blink’s on the blink. (What were they thinking when they chose that name, anyway???)

You are just talking shuut. All Chademo chargers are designed to provide the rated maximum power continuously.

Now who’s talking “shuut”??? Not even close.

Most of the cheap CHAdeMO chargers that are deployed by EVgo and at Nissan dealerships max out at 40 kW. They are also down most of the day in summer because they overheat.
Tesla is the only serious answer. They are deployed with 4 or more at each site and the sites are well located. CHAdeMO charging at a Nissan dealer is painful. Its slow and they are in miserable places with nothing useful or fun to do for a half hour. Thankfully some of them have free WiFi at least.

The above pictures do an amazing job of making a case to toss everything and go with the tesla “standard”. #completeidiocy

Agreed! With Tesla’s ‘open’ patents, higher actual charge rates, and much more sensible plug design, I think most would agree that Tesla should be the standard.

Mark – Thanks for posting this article. I was always curious how all the standards compare. One suggestion: How about updating this article with a picture of a Tesla charging plug close to the same scale as the other Franken-plugs.


The Tesla plug is the people choice by a landslide!

+2 sven and Jim_NJ

The Tesla plug is crap. Because it’s so small, it’s mechanical unstable and can’t hold a longer cable. All Teslas must park directly with the charging port at the plug holder, because it only can support a short cable. That’s complete unusable for different car designs.

Wouldn’t it need to support just the weight of an approximately 4 foot long cord, since longer cords and their weight would rest on the ground?

Well there goes Counterstrike Cat’s claim down the toilet.

Spoken like some one who knows nothing about which they are talking.

Have you actually used a tesla plug? It is quite solid and in 50K cars shipped todate, there have been few, if any, instances of failure. It is also brilliant in it’s simplicity and ergonomics.

The Tesla SuperCharger cord is short because it’s carrying up to 120KW of power and that is one thick cable. Every additional milliohm of resistance costs power and when you are delivering Gigawatts per day, it adds up fast. Also, a short cord will not rest on the ground if left unplugged.

as a complete layperson, I say choose the smallest one that is easiest to plug in.

if that limits the power output, then have a standard where everything fits the easiest thing to plug in… and if more power is needed then you would have an add on.

sort of like 2 prong and a 3 prong cords and 2 prong and 3 prong outlets.
You can plug a 2 prong cord into a 2 or 3 prong outlet.

however, if you need more safety or whatever then you can use a 3 prong. The 3 prong cord won’t fit into a 2 prong outlet.

do the same thing with cars. All the chargers can plug into all the cars using the “2 prong” solution (on both car and charging station). However, if special charging is needed then you’d use the “3 prong” charging station add-on to fit into your “3 prong” car.

probably was as clear as mud.

You would chose the Tesla adapter then. Carries the most charge and is the easiest to plug in.

There system has also seemed to be the most reliable.

*Their (as in Tesla)

What you describe sounds like what the SAE tried to do with the CCS standard – you have a J1772 handle for L2 charging, and a CCS handle adds two extra pins for QCing. The J1772 will fit into a (US) CCS socket, or a J1772 socket. But a CCS plug will only plug into a CCS socket.

I agree that Tesla’s approach is more elegant – instead of mixing plug and socket types, control everything through software and communication. It is the same plug for L2 or Supercharging. But a non-supercharge-capable car would just not activate charging when plugged in.

It appears that we need inductive charging more urgently than I had realized.

The only inductive chargers right now are all 3.3 kW AC charging. I think Plugless Power is working on 6.6 kW.

I haven’t seen anyone working on 50+ kW DC inductive charging.

Until cars can drive themselves to the chargers (without me in the car), I just can’t see the value in inductive charging.

We need more power! I’m disappointed that the new standards aren’t at least ready for 400kw, or should it be 400kw Ready(tm)? It will probably be many years until such power can be utilized but that’s the point of trying to future proof standards.

Don’t understand the people who are saying that ChaDeMo is slow. Slow in comparison with?
It charges my iOn’s battery within 25 from bed flat to 82%, and I have 50miles range on the motorway, or 80 miles in the town/city

I got a chuckle out of your comment! Of course it won’t take much time to charge your battery as it doesn’t take much charge at all. The day is coming soon where 200 mile range will be the standard which means around 50KWH batteries. A 50 KW charger will take well more than an hour to fully charge that battery (there is ramp down that occurs towards the end).

Your iOn has a mere 16 KWH battery.

Compared to a level 2, it’s fast. However, as a road trip enabler it’s still slow. Something in the ball park of 100kW is what starts to approach gasoline car convenience.

…so this is where all the nerds have been hiding today, (=

Stating a DCFC, or standard supports a certain standard of “power” (kW), or voltage level has little connection to practical charging speeds. What you need to know … it’s all about the amps! Power is the product of Voltage (V) and current (A) being delivered. For EVs and EVSE it is important to know that the EV sets/controls the voltage level and the EVSE has limits on the amount of current it can supply. eg: A LEAF on a 60 kW Blink EVSE will NEVER be able to draw more than 49 kW. This is because a LEAF’s highest battery voltage is 396V and the CHAdeMO connector Blinked uses is limited to 125A. (max theoritical power is 396V * 125A). However the reality is as a battery charges, current is highest when SOC is lowest and lowest when SOC highest. At lowest SOC LEAF battery voltages is near 360V thus max power is 45 kW (360V*125A)… at 90% SOC: 10 kW (390V*25A). Think a Model S can draw more than 50 kW from a 60 kW Blink DC charger? Nope … like a LEAF, the max voltage is also not much above 400V. The reason a S can charge at… Read more »

Cool Brian,
That someone knows the real facts.

To many write about things thats above there skill level.

Tesla for sure also know what they are doing.
We have to learn a lot new stuff that we mist out of at school.

I’m kinda excited by the prospect of ‘medium speed charging’. That 25KW charger from BMW could be installed many places for not too much money

… because it’s subsidized by BMW, just like the 44kW Nissan / Sumitomo units are… and Tesla !!!

There is a physical limit on charging: the size of the conductors, due to the current. A 200 Amp copper cable is quite heavy per foot, so imagine the extra weight in the EV. Until we can use suoerconductor materials as conductors, the only other method to transfer more kiloWatts is a higher voltage, and better insulation. The J1772 Combo was limited to 600 VDC, which is plenty but then the EV manufacturer muust use a better insulating material for the socket and cabling to the battery, controller and motor. I believe that improving insulation is the best way to increase voltage to 800 VDC and up to 160 kW for quick DC charging.

Well, yes, but unless the battery voltage increases as well, it would be pointless to have such high voltages at the input connectors.

Nice Model

I think that the practical limit for a cable based charger is around 250kW (450V@550A like the Aerovironment charger for the Phoenix Motorcars SUT).

The next version of CCS will probably be around that much (SAE definitely has it planned, although only using 600V@400A).

The other day I was pouring gasoline in a Jerry can to supply a generator. The ten liter container filled up in 20 seconds, if you know that a liter of gasoline is about 10 KWh worth of energy, I was filling at an equivalent power rate of 18000 KW. Even if we consider that there is only an energy conversion of 25 % in a combustion engine that still translate to 4500 KW. Now on electric side we are charging at 90 KW, 135 KW at best, so we really need to further improve this. Perhaps not the full 4500 KW, but certainly up to the 1000 KW. I am now convinced that reaching the megawatt level charging is paramount to the replacement of all gasoline cars by electrics. We are at 135 KW so there is still a factor 7 to get there. Since the amps are rather maxed out already, the only way to go is increasing the voltage. We need to pass from 400 Volts to 3000 Volts. In case some would be scared by that remember an electric fence is operated at 6000 V and a spark plug is running at 35000 Volts, so 3000… Read more »