While pretty much everyone agrees that more electric vehicle charging stations are necessary, not everyone agrees which connector or charging protocol should be used.
Often in the beginning stages of a new technology, there will be different approaches to achieve similar results. Take videotape for example, VHS and BetaMax, which both had their pros and cons. BetaMax disappeared in the late 1990s. More recently, the war between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray resulted in HD-DVD going by the wayside. Electric vehicle charging stations could be headed for the same conflict, with at least three protocols out there at the moment, including, CHAdeMO, Tesla, and SAE. These connectors are different configurations and their corresponding chargers are capable of different voltage and amperage.
Additionally, not all vehicles are equipped with all three connectors. Nissan Leaf comes with just the older SAE connector and the high-end SL comes with the CHAdeMO connector as well. When asked if the next Leaf will come with the upcoming SAE Combo connector, Brendan Jones, director of Nissan Leaf Marketing, replied simply, “not at this time.” If Nissan Leaf isn’t going to have the SAE Combo connector, then it is clear that Nissan plans to continue its plan to develop and roll out more CHAdeMO chargers.
The CHAdeMO electric vehicle charging station is cheaper to install, just $15,500 for the unit, while other LIII chargers range from $25,000 to $40,000 each. This is good news for those hoping to see an expanding electric vehicle infrastructure. Will the connectors cause a split or come together? Perhaps one solution might be to install multiple charge ports on the vehicle, such as the Tesla Model S, which can accept the CHAdeMO charger with a factory-installed adapter. On the other hand, charging stations can be equipped with different plugs and software to control them, such as the GRIDbot CHAdeMO/SAE Combo charger.