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Japan and India team up for affordable EV charging standard

  • May 7, 2022
  • , Nikkei Asia , 1:05 a.m.
  • English Press

Streamlined construction aims to give electrics a boost in emerging Asian markets


RYOTARO YAMADA and RYOSUKE HANADA, Nikkei staff writers


TOKYO/MUMBAI — Japan and India will join hands to develop an electric-vehicle charging standard for emerging markets, eyeing easy-to-build stations based on Japanese protocols that would slash installation costs by two-thirds.


The CHAdeMO Association, the organization responsible for Japan’s charging standard, will work with India’s standards drafting committee, which includes such automakers as Mahindra Electric and Maruti Suzuki.


The committee plans to submit a draft proposal to the Bureau of Indian Standards this year, aiming for official adoption as early as 2023.


CHAdeMO — whose roster of roughly 500 member companies includes Nissan Motor, Toyota Motor and Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings — hopes to encourage broader use of electric vehicles in not only India, but also emerging Southeast Asian countries now short on the necessary charging infrastructure.


The proposed specifications would allow for a maximum output of 22 kilowatts — half the typical figure for charging stations in Japan. Simplified construction would facilitate charging from commercial power sources for factories, for example. The cost of installing a charging point, now in the $15,000 to $23,000 range, could be cut to the equivalent of under $10,000.


The lower output means longer charging times — twice as long as standard Japanese chargers for the same battery. But since electric-vehicle demand in emerging markets is expected to initially center on compact vehicles with relatively low battery capacity, this is seen as likely to be an acceptable trade-off.


Basing the protocol on Japanese standards will let Japanese automakers export models developed for their home market without needing to change the charging connector. While India plans to have local companies build charging equipment there, other emerging markets that use this standard could order it from Japanese manufacturers, opening up new business opportunities.


India aims to have electric vehicles account for 30% of all new cars sold by 2030, and many Southeast Asian countries also look to pivot to electrics to reduce carbon emissions.


But in contrast to the boom in China, adoption has been much slower in many emerging Asian markets, due to factors including relatively low incomes and a dearth of charging infrastructure. Fewer than 20,000 electric autos were sold in India last fiscal year.


The hope is that cheaper equipment under the joint Japanese-Indian standard will encourage these countries to expand their charging networks, giving electrics a boost.


Different charging standards use different plug shapes and protocols for communication between the car and charger. Global markets are largely split between Japanese and European standards, though Tesla also has its own, used mainly in the U.S., Japan and Europe.


While China currently has its own standard as well, it plans to work with Japan to adopt a common high-output next-generation standard from 2030 on.

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