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CCS vs CHAdeMO: What‘s the Difference?

Electric vehicles (EVs) have seen massive growth in recent years as more drivers look to go electric for environmental, performance and cost savings benefits. But when it comes to charging your EV, things can get complicated fast due to the variety of charging connector standards available. Two of the main rapid DC fast charging options are the Combined Charging System (CCS) and CHAdeMO. But what exactly is the difference, and which one is better?

Below we‘ll compare CCS and CHAdeMO side-by-side, analyze the pros and cons of each, and make recommendations so you can charge your EV with confidence.

CCS vs. CHAdeMO: Key Specs Comparison

First, let‘s look at a direct comparison of the key specifications of CCS and CHAdeMO:

Connector Type J1772 + DC pins CHAdeMO
Voltage 200V – 1000V 200V – 1000V
Max Charging Speed 350kW 400kW
Charging Direction Unidirectional Bidirectional
Release Date 2013 2010
Developers SAE, ACEA CHAdeMO Association

As we can see, both CCS and CHAdeMO support very fast charging speeds of up to 400kW, though most real-world chargers max out around 100-150kW. The key differences are in the connector type, charging direction, and who developed each standard. Next we‘ll look at these differences in more detail.

CCS vs CHAdeMO: Design Differences

The CCS connector combines the J1772 AC charging plug with two extra DC fast charging pins. This allows a CCS inlet to support AC Level 1, Level 2, and DC fast charging without any additional adapters.

In contrast, CHAdeMO uses a completely separate specially designed connector. Vehicles that use CHAdeMO require both a J1772 inlet for AC charging and a separate CHAdeMO inlet for DC fast charging. So CHAdeMO vehicles will have two visible charging ports.

CHAdeMO vehicle with two charging ports

CHAdeMO vehicles require both a J1772 inlet and separate CHAdeMO inlet

In terms of physical connector design, the CHAdeMO plug is a bit larger at 2.8 inches diameter compared to 2.6 inches for CCS. Both use a similar 10-pin layout.

Using CCS vs CHAdeMO Chargers

When it comes to the actual charging experience, CCS and CHAdeMO work quite similarly from the user‘s perspective. Both charging standards use automated "handshake" protocols to initialize charging once the connector is plugged in.

CCS owners simply plug into any CCS or J1772 charging station to charge. CHAdeMO owners need to plug into a CHAdeMO-specific DC fast charging station for rapid charging, or use an additional J1772 cord into the AC inlet for slower Level 1/2 charging.

Public DC fast charging stations will have clear signage indicating which connector type(s) are available. Many stations now support both CCS and CHAdeMO to accommodate all vehicles.

CCS vs CHAdeMO: Charging Speed Comparison

When it comes to actual charging speeds, CCS and CHAdeMO are essentially on par with each other when using current generation 100-150kW DC fast charging stations.

Both charging standards are capable of delivering up to 400kW of power, though vehicle battery systems today max out around 150kW. So you can expect a full charge from 10% to 80% in around 20-45 minutes for most EVs using either CCS or CHAdeMO public chargers.

Home and office charging stations with Level 2 AC charging will take much longer, generally 8-12 hours for a full charge. This is the same whether your EV uses CCS or CHAdeMO.

CCS vs CHAdeMO: Availability

One major consideration for any EV owner is charging availability. So which charging standard is more widely available?

CCS has gained strong market share, especially in North America and Europe. It‘s supported by GM, Volkswagen, Ford, BMW, Hyundai Kia, Volvo, and other major manufacturers.

CHAdeMO still maintains a hold in Japan, where it was originally developed and retains widespread compatibility. But globally, CCS now dominates with many more charging locations available.

In the US, there are around 6,000 CCS charging stations compared to just 2,300 CHAdeMO locations, according to PlugShare data. And many new charging stations are CCS-only.

So drivers of newer Nissan, Mitsubishi, and some Honda EV models are more likely to encounter limited charging options due to lack of CHAdeMO plugs.

CCS vs CHAdeMO: Unidirectional vs Bidirectional Charging

One tech specification advantage CHAdeMO has over CCS is support for bidirectional charging. This means CHAdeMO EVs can potentially feed electricity back into the power grid when plugged into compatible chargers.

CCS currently only supports unidirectional "one-way" charging where electricity flows from the charging station into the vehicle‘s battery.

Bidirectional charging opens up some interesting future possibilities like using your EV‘s battery pack to power your home in an outage, or sell electricity back to the grid during peak demand. But bidirectional CHAdeMO capabilities are still very limited in real-world applications for now.

Key Facts Summary

To summarize the key facts in the CCS vs CHAdeMO comparison:

  • CCS is more widely adopted with better charging availability
  • CHAdeMO requires a separate charging inlet
  • Charging speeds are similar on both standards
  • CCS is unidirectional charging only
  • CHAdeMO supports bidirectional charging
  • CCS connectors are smaller than CHAdeMO
  • Both deliver 200V to 1000V power at up to 400kW

Which Charging Standard is Better for EV Owners?

For most EV owners today, CCS is the better and more convenient charging standard to have. Its flexibility to support all charge levels and widespread charging station availability give it a clear advantage.

The only compelling reason to choose CHAdeMO currently is if you own a Nissan Leaf or Mitsubishi EV. All other models should opt for CCS capability whenever possible.

And it appears automakers agree, with more models switching to CCS even in the Japanese market where CHAdeMO previously dominated.

But keep an eye on further CHAdeMO advancements with bidirectional charging. This functionality could make it more appealing down the road if charging infrastructure expands.

Recent CCS and CHAdeMO Upgrades

Both charging standards continue to evolve with new upgrades:

  • CCS2 – The latest CCS standard that increases max charging speed from 200kW up to 350kW.
  • CHAdeMO 3.0 – Added support for charging up to 600V and 400 kW power delivery.
  • Dual Charge Port Vehicles – Some new EVs like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 feature both CCS and CHAdeMO ports for maximum flexibility.

So we can expect both charging standards to deliver even faster charging speeds to keep pace with next-gen EV battery tech.

The Future of EV Fast Charging

It‘s an exciting time for advancements in EV charging technology. Over the next 5-10 years, we can expect:

  • Even faster charging speeds up to 1000+ kW
  • Mainstream bidirectional charging
  • Improved charger availability and convenience
  • Potential for new solid-state battery tech to enable safer ultra-fast charging
  • Vehicle-to-grid integration for EVs to supplement power grids

The charging standards will continue to evolve alongside battery technology to minimize charge times. This will help accelerate the mass adoption of electric vehicles worldwide.

Related Electric Vehicle Guides

If you found this CCS vs CHAdeMO comparison helpful, be sure to also check out:

  • Mustang Mach E vs Tesla Model Y Comparison
  • Understanding Electric Car Charging Levels
  • Guide to EV Charging Networks and Apps
  • Pros and Cons of Owning an Electric Car

Let us know if you have any other questions about transitioning to electric driving!