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Tesla Supercharger vs CHAdeMO: What’s the Difference?

Tesla Supercharger vs CHAdeMO

Tesla Supercharger vs CHAdeMO: What’s the Difference?

CHAdeMO is a popular Japanese fast-charging system developed for electric vehicles (EVs) in 2010. The masterminds behind CHAdeMO were Tokyo Electric Power Company and five renowned Japanese auto manufacturers. With 62.5 kW of power output, the first generation of CHAdeMO became insanely famous among EV owners. 

However, with the establishment of other charging stations, like the Tesla Supercharger, consumers started complaining about a few things. First, they didn’t like the CHAdeMO’s bulky connector. Second, they weren’t impressed by its power. After all, the Tesla Supercharger offered 75 kW and 150 kW of power. Not only that, but Tesla’s chargers were also smaller and lighter than CHAdeMO’s. 

Over the years, CHAdeMO released its second generation, which offers up to 400 kW of power. The company will soon release its third generation, “ChaoJi,” expected to deliver up to 900 kW. 

So, what are the actual differences between Tesla Supercharger vs CHAdeMO? Which is better for your EV? Let’s go through this detailed comparison to make the right choice for your vehicle.

Tesla Supercharger vs CHAdeMO: Side-by-Side Comparison

Tesla Supercharger CHAdeMO
Best forElectric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)Electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)
Initial release September 2012June 2012
Charging typeDC Fast Charging (Level 3)DC Fast Charging (Level 3)
Charging time44 mins for 10% to 80% charge1 hr 16 mins for 10% to 80% charge
ConnectorLightweightBulky 
Power output Up to 250 kWV4 Supercharger: Up to 350 kW (soon to release)1st Generation: Up to 62.5 kW 2nd Generation: Up to 400 kW3rd Generation: Up to 900kW (soon to release)
InterfacePlug-in and charge Reach a terminal, use a credit card or a verified network card, and charge

Tesla Supercharger vs CHAdeMO: What’s the Difference?

Tesla Supercharger and CHAdeMO are the world’s most reliable, popular, and fastest charging systems. However, they differ in multiple aspects, offering unique features to EV owners. Let’s go through the significant differences between both charging stations.

Charging System

Tesla created the Supercharger stations exclusively for Tesla vehicles. The first generations of Tesla Superchargers offer up to 150 kW, and the newer generation—Version 3—supports a maximum of 250 kW of power output. 

You will also find special stalls of Tesla in metro spaces, offering up to 72 kW. The Tesla Model S/X (2021), Model 3, and Model Y LR use 250 kW of charging.

a red tesla plugged into a fast charger
As of December 2022, Tesla operates 40,432 Superchargers in 4,470 stations worldwide.

CHAdeMO, on the other hand, also offers a fast DC charging system. Its first generation provides a maximum of 62.5 kW at 500V. This is usually enough for most EVs. Years later, CHAdeMO released the second generation—Version 2—that supports up to 400 kW at 1000V. 

The latest CHAdeMO Leaf (2020) can support a maximum of 100 kW. The CHAdeMO Association is developing a third generation with China Electricity Council (CEC) named “ChaoJi,” focusing on delivering 900 kW. Tesla also offers a CHAdeMo adapter that allows a Tesla car to charge at a CHAdeMO station. 

Network Sizes

There are multiple network sizes available for DC fast charging in the US. Each network offers varying power ranges and connections at numerous sites and stalls, such as Tesla, Electrify America, ChargePoint, etc. Here is a breakdown of a few DC fast-charging network sizes:

NetworkPowerSitesStallsConnections
Tesla250, 150 kW, 120 kW, and 72 kW8247,895Tesla specific
ChargePoint62.5 kW and 50 kWunknown350CCS & CHAdeMO
Electrify America350 kW, 150 kW, 125 kW, 75 kW4291,905CCS & CHAdeMO

Note: The numbers are an estimate, meaning some sites and stalls may offer more or fewer connection types than mentioned in the table. 

As you can see, Tesla’s Superchargers offer power from 72 kW to 250 kW, which is more than enough for most EVs. Fortunately, the company is undergoing upgrades in the coming years. Meanwhile, Electrify America offers up to 350 kW of power with CCS and CHAdeMO connections.

Accessibility

Tesla Supercharger stations are located in commercial areas, such as restaurants, restrooms, shopping malls, and hotels. These are the places where EV owners usually stop by for multiple reasons. This applies to both the Tesla standard Supercharger stalls and urban Superchargers. 

However, the latter may also be found in garages and parking lots of shopping malls. On the other hand, CHAdeMO and CCS charging sites are mostly located at car dealers. While that’s accessible for many, some people experience CHAdeMO’s charging stalls occupied by dealer cars. 

Even worse, the ICE cars from the dealers also often block the stalls. Not only that, but you may also struggle to access CHAdeMO stalls during business hours. 

Tesla Supercharger vs CHAdeMO
Tesla Supercharger stations are conveniently located at shopping malls, restaurants, grocery stores, and more.

Expansion

Two years after the first Tesla Supercharger’s foundation, the number of standard Supercharger stations reached 221 in 2014 — 119 in the US, 26 in Asia, and 76 in Europe. By the end of the year, the Supercharger stations expanded to 280 worldwide. The next year, it grew to 584, and 1,045 by 2017. 

In 2017, Tesla opened a solar-assisted Supercharger station in Belgium. The company aimed to launch 15,000 stalls by April 2017. In March 2020, it succeeded in starting 1,826 stations worldwide with 16,103 Superchargers. 

By November, Tesla announced plans to deploy 20,000 Supercharger stalls and successfully established 25,000 stalls by May 2021. By the end of the year, Tesla launched 30,000 Supercharger stalls. There are 400,000+ Tesla Supercharger stations in multiple corners of the world. This shows how far the company has come!

On the other hand, CHAdeMO chargers have also expanded their geographical reach over the years. According to the CHAdeMO Association, there have been 44,900 CHAdeMO stations established in 96 countries worldwide. This includes 22,500 in Europe, 8,000 in North America, 7,700 in Japan, and 1,000 in other parts.

In fact, 50 companies have produced 260 certified CHAdeMO charger stations till January 2022. We can expect this figure to be more nowadays!

Interface

The interface of Tesla is simpler than CHAdeMO. At Tesla Supercharger, you just have to plug in your car and charge. Meanwhile, with CHAdeMO, you’ll have to reach a terminal and use a pre-verified network card or your credit card to charge your EV

You’ll have varying charging pedestals at both charging stations with different interfaces. That’s because the industry has no specific standards. Many charging networks have tried to imitate Tesla’s excellent plug-and-play system, but it’s evident that it’s a long way to go. 

Connector Design

tesla supercharger vs chademo
CHAdeMO derives from a Japanese phrase that translates to English as “How about a cup of tea?”, referring to the time it would take to charge a car.

Tesla Supercharger connectors are hands down the easiest to use. Even a teenager can effectively lift the connector, fit it in their car, and drive a fully-charged vehicle away in a few minutes. 

Supercharger’s cable and connector are lighter than the CHAdeMO’s and are almost one-quarter in volume. Comparatively, CHAdeMO connectors are bulky, meaning even adults struggle to handle them. Of course, charging an EV at CHAdeMO’s stations is not impossible, but it’s not easy either. 

Reliability

Tesla has been the most reliable EV fast-charging system for over a decade. It has installed thousands of Superchargers at multiple locations. Even if any one stall shows a minor default, it’s negligible. 

Over the years, there have been more complaints about defects at CHAdeMO charging stations. Of course, not every stall can be perfect, but for a company to be reliable, the issue must be resolved instantly. Unfortunately, these stalls remain broken for extended periods, making EV owners shift towards Tesla Superchargers. 

Tesla charging at a supercharger station
Tesla Superchargers have a reputation of being the most reliable charging station for EVs.

Tesla Supercharger vs CHAdeMO: The Complete History

The Tesla Supercharger has made its way into the minds of EV owners from day one. The network started on Sept 24, 2012. At that time, only six Supercharger stations were established. 

After Model S, the Tesla Model X, Model 3, and Model Y were the first few cars that used Tesla Superchargers. In fact, some Tesla cars come with free supercharging for a lifetime. However, others offer 100-400 kWh free charge yearly, a single credit of 100-400kWh, or a monetary credit. 

Tesla’s owner, Elon Musk, announced plans to install a battery-swapping station in all its supercharging stations. This was the time around June 2013. These were named “Tesla Stations.” Elon Musk presented a battery-swap operation with the company’s classic Model S at Tesla’s design studio in LA.

It took a little more than 90 seconds to be fully charged, which was half the time required to refill a conventional gasoline car. Currently, there are 40,432 Superchargers in 4,470 stations all over the world. On average, that’s more than 9 Superchargers in every station!

CHAdeMO was designed by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and many Japanese automakers. TEPCO has a good portfolio of working on many EV infrastructure projects with Subaru, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and many more. 

These projects helped TEPCO develop the foundation for the CHAdeMO through patented technology. Soon enough, the company got the first CHAdeMO charging station commissioned alongside the Mitsubishi i-MiEV in 2009. 

The next year, TEPCO partnered with Subaru, Nissan, Toyota, and Mitsubishi to establish the CHAdeMO Association. Many renowned car manufacturers, including Honda, Hitachi, and Panasonic, also joined hands with them. As a result, CHAdeMO was launched as the first company to offer DC fast charging for a wide range of EV brands and models.

Tesla Supercharger vs CHAdeMO: 5 Must-Know Facts

By now, it seems like a tie between Tesla Supercharger vs CHAdeMO, with Tesla having a slight upper hand over its counterpart. Let’s explore some important facts about both charging systems to reach a decision.

  1. You can charge a Tesla Model S with CHAdeMO by purchasing a CHAdeMo adapter from Tesla’s website.
  2. With a CHAdeMO adapter, you can charge your Tesla at a maximum of 43 kW or a range of 108 km every half hour.
  3. There are 400,000+ stations of both Tesla Supercharger and CHAdeMO worldwide.
  4. CHAdeMO is the only EV charging station that supports bidirectional charging (V2G). It also has the certification system required for interoperability across multiple EVs and V2G vehicles.
  5. With CHAdeMO, you can charge your vehicle for a 40 km drive in just 5 minutes and 60 km in 10 minutes. It will only take 30 minutes to get your EV fully charged. Comparatively, Superchargers can provide 321 km of drive within 15 minutes of charge. 

Recent Updates to the Tesla Supercharger and CHAdeMO

Both Tesla and CHAdeMO are constantly innovating their chargers to provide the best charging stations possible to consumers. Since February 2023, we have seen a few updates including the following:

  • Both Tesla and CHAdeMO have been developing chargers with greater kilowatt capacity, with Tesla installing chargers capable of 300 kW and CHAdeMO developing chargers capable of 400 kW.
  • Tesla has integrated solar technology into their charging stations, making them more sustainable.

Tesla Supercharger vs CHAdeMO: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?

Now, you must be thinking, “Yes, Tesla supercharger and CHAdeMO are one of the best charging stations out there, but which one should I go for?” If that’s the case, you should take out time and evaluate your goals and expectations. 

If you can handle bulky connectors, you can go for any options. Otherwise, Tesla Supercharger will be your best bet. Also, if you have a Tesla, you should charge it from Tesla Supercharger since you can easily utilize your credit or even charge your vehicle for free!

But since you can also charge your Tesla car at a CHAdeMO station with the adapter, that shouldn’t be a problem. One great thing about CHAdeMO stations is that they welcome all EV models.

However, if the power output is your concern, you can opt for the second generation of CHAdeMO, which offers up to 400 kW. This will let you charge your EV more quickly. Still, the Tesla Supercharger isn’t any worse. It also charges a vehicle fast with 250 kW of power output.

Tesla stations are usually installed in commercial areas, such as restaurants, shopping malls, hotels, and garages. This gives them extra points. So, the ball is in your court. Determine your expectations and choose the right charging station for yourself!

Breaking EV News

June 8, 2023 — Following a similar announcement by Ford on May 25, 2023, General Motors (GM) announced that it will adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard connector. This will happen in two phases. At the start of 2024, owners of Ford and GM EVs will be able to charge using an adaptor at 12,000 of Tesla’s Superchargers. Both companies will feature Tesla’s North American Charging Standard connector starting in 2025.

In an interview, Mary Barra, GM’s CEO indicated that this collaboration, “…could help move the industry toward a single North American charging standard.”

The Future of Tesla Superchargers and CHAdeMO

As EVs increase in popularity and more research on charging technology is conducted, we could see even more developments to these chargers. In the following six to 18 months we may see the following:

  • Increased availability of chargers across the nation.
  • Faster charging speeds to make EV driving more convenient for consumers.
  • New charging standards for interoperable chargers that can be used by a wider range of vehicles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I charge my Tesla at CHAdeMO?

You can charge your Tesla at a CHAdemo station with a CHAdeMO adapter.

What is the difference between a Tesla charger and Tesla Supercharger?

Superchargers are quicker and more accessible to charge a Tesla car, while ordinary Tesla chargers, or Destination Chargers, usually offer slow charging.

Can a regular EV use a Tesla Supercharger?

Yes, you can charge any EV with a Tesla Supercharger with a J1772 adapter. It will let you charge any EV with both Tesla Mobile Connector and Tesla Wall Connector.

Which cars can use CHAdeMO?

CHAdeMO supports almost every electric car model and make, including Toyota Prius Plug-In, Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV Mk1, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Citroen Berlingo Electric Mk1, Tesla Model S, and more. For Tesla, you’ll need an adapter.

Which charger is best for Tesla?

If you’re charging a Tesla at home, the Wall Connector is the best as it is the most convenient with a fast charging speed. You can also use the Mobile Connector with a J1772 adapter to charge your Tesla at any charging station.

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