Nissan has adopted the CHAdeMO system for fast-charging the LEAF, though the number of CHAdeMO stations in America was quite low. In January, 2013 there were just 160 CHAdeMO sites operating in the US. Today though, there are 630, and about 150 of those are found at authorized Nissan dealers, while the rest are clustered in areas where the LEAF has sold particularly well, such as Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas.
Going forward, Nissan plans to aggressively expand the number of CHAdeMO charging stations across the US.
So what the heck does CHAdeMO mean, anyway? Basically, it’s a trade name for an electric vehicle fast recharging system that uses DC voltage to get electric cars topped up and ready to go as quickly as possible. Nissan shares the system with Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV cars. Soon, Kia’s electric Soul will join the CHAdeMO club also. The CHAdeMO system allows the vehicle to communicate electronically with the charging mechanism. The car tells the charger what the status of its batteries is, how much juice they can store and how quickly they can be charged. The charger does the rest.
Most of us don’t realize there is a war going on in the electric car field to see which charging technology will become the industry standard going forward. Tesla has its proprietary Supercharger system, but there are just over 100 of those available in the US at the moment. BMW, Chevrolet and Ford all have electric models that use different charging formats, the SAE-approved Combo charger. For the moment, CHAdeMO is the leader in the field of fast charging.