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Japan and China agree to set common charging standards for EVs

Unified rules could make them the de facto choice for global manufacturers

A charging station for electric vehicles at Nissan Motor headquarters in Yokohama: Japanese and Chinese organizations plan to develop a common charging standard. (Photo by Maho Obata)

TOKYO -- Industry groups in Japan and China agreed Wednesday to create a common charging standard for electric vehicles.

The CHAdeMO Association, a Tokyo-based organization that promotes an electric vehicle charging standard of the same name, will sign an official agreement this month with the China Electricity Council, which is pushing its own GB/T charging standard.

As a first step toward unifying the two standards, the groups will work together to develop charging technologies.

Between them, devices using the Japanese and Chinese standards make up 90% of the global market for electric car chargers. Creating a common standard for the two could make it the de facto global standard, giving a boost to the two countries' industrial competitiveness.

Western manufacturers use a different charging standard called Combo. "We are discussing compatibility rather than racing to set standards," said Makoto Yoshida, CHAdeMO's general secretary, in May, implying that the Japanese organization is looking for ways to collaborate with its Western counterparts.

CHAdeMO also plans to partner with India to create a national standard, reflecting greater global cooperation on vehicle charging.

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