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Global Electric Vehicle Charging Interface: Five Major Standards and Control Circuits

As countries increasingly support electric vehicles, the construction of charging stations has grown, and charging standards have gradually formed in regions and countries such as Europe, the United States, China, and Japan. Tesla, having developed electric vehicles early and having a significant number of them, designed its own charging standard. Thus, we currently have five major global charging standards.

The five standard interfaces are based on China’s GB/T 20234 standard, North America’s J1772 standard CCS1, Europe’s IEC 62196 standard CCS2, Japan’s CHAdeMO standard, and Tesla’s NACS standard. Due to the different charging interfaces in various regions, this has led to the need to meet the charging standards of different areas or markets when designing electric vehicle charging interfaces. Otherwise, charging cannot be carried out, and it does not meet the requirements of its standard regulations.

Next, we will discuss the differences in standard charging interfaces and interface circuits (handshake circuits) in different regions.

  1. China’s Charging Standard

The reference standards for China’s electric vehicle standard charging interface and handshake circuit are GB/T 20234 and GB/T 18487.1. The maximum voltage for the AC charging interface is three-phase 440V AC, with a maximum current of 63A AC. In contrast, the maximum voltage for DC charging is 1000V DC, with a maximum current of 300A DC under natural cooling and a maximum current of 800A DC under active cooling. (Active cooling is a new revision that has not yet been released).

Pinouts for GB/T 20234.2 (male interface)
CCCharging confirmationpre-insertion signalling
CPControl pilotpost-insertion signalling
PEProtective earthfull-current protective earthing system—6-millimetre (0.24 in) diameter
NNeutralsingle-phase AC
L1Line 1single-phase AC
L2Line 2back-up contact
L3Line 3back-up contact
Electrical
SignalDC
EarthDedicated pin
Max. voltage1000 V
Max. current250 A
Pinout
Pinouts for GB/T 20234.3 (male vehicle connector interface)
S+ / S-Charging communicationCAN_H / CAN_L
CC1 / CC2Charging confirmationpost-insertion signalling
DC+ / DC-Main DC powerpositive / negative
PEProtective earthfull-current protective earthing system
A+ / A-Auxiliary DC power+/-30V, 20A

To accommodate the current domestic requirements for high-power supercharging, the newly revised standard has added a liquid cooling requirement to meet the needs of at least 500A and above current. With the imminent release of the new standard, the domestic situation of having no standard to rely on for supercharging will end, completely resolving the awkward situation where charging interface certification could only be done according to the 250A current standard.

The reference interface circuit for the charging pile handshake is as follows:

GB/T 20234 standard AC Charging Vehicle Stake Handshake Reference Circuit

GB/T 20234 standard AC Charging Vehicle Stake Handshake Reference Circuit

  1. North American Charging Standard

The charging standard in North America is primarily used in the United States and Canada. The maximum AC voltage is 240V AC, with a maximum current of 80A AC. The maximum DC voltage is 1000V DC, with a maximum current of 400A DC.

North American AC and DC charging interface ratings

Electrical Parameters and Functional Definitions of American Standard AC and DC Charging Interface Terminals

American Standard AC/DC Charging Port Pin Definit

American Standard SAE J1772 AC Charging Stake Handshake Circuit

DC Level 1 system configuration in SAE J1772

DC Level 1 system configuration in SAE J1772

European Charging Standard

The voltage range in Europe is similar to that in China. The charging interface CCS2 is derived from the American standard CCS1, but there are some variations. The main difference is that the standard household voltage in Europe is 230 volts, almost double the voltage used in North America. Therefore, Europe does not have Level 1 charging. The maximum AC voltage in Europe is 480V AC, with a maximum current of 63A. The maximum DC voltage is 1000V DC, with a maximum current of 200A DC (based on data from the 2014 edition; the 2022 edition of the standard has not been obtained yet).

European AC/DC charging port ratings

European AC/DC charging port pin definitions (power supply side view)

European AC Charging Vehicle Stake Handshake Reference Circuit

IEC61851 Handshaking Standard for AC CP Signalling

European DC Charging Vehicle Stake Handshake Reference Circuit

Japanese Charging Standard

Japan’s charging standard is quite unique. For AC charging, they adopt the American J1772 standard, while for DC charging, they use the CHAdeMO standard. We’ve already discussed J1772, so let’s focus on the CHAdeMO standard.

CHAdeMO is a DC plug developed jointly by five Japanese car manufacturers. They attempted to promote it as a global standard starting in 2010, but it wasn’t widely adopted. Nevertheless, several countries or regions currently use the CHAdeMO interface, including Japan, with most installations found in Europe (primarily in the Nordic countries), the United States, and South Korea. There are two versions of the CHAdeMO standard. The first version supports charging up to 62.5 kW with a maximum current of 125 A, while the revised CHAdeMO 2.0 specification allows for charging up to 400 kW. Additionally, the CHAdeMO association is collaborating with China to develop a super-fast connector capable of charging up to 900 kW, known as the Chaoji charging interface, though its progress hasn’t been as expected.

Tesla Charging Standard

While the commonly used charging standard in the United States is J1772, Tesla stands out as an exception. They developed their proprietary charging interface specifically for Tesla electric vehicles. On November 11, 2022, Tesla announced its NACS standard and welcomed everyone to use it.

NACS is a combined AC and DC socket. Due to interface constraints, NACS has a limitation: it cannot be compatible with three-phase AC power. This means it cannot be used in countries or regions like China and Europe that utilize three-phase AC power.

The interface circuit of NACS is identical to the CCS interface circuit. For vehicles that originally had the CCS standard interface for onboard control and detection units (OBC or BMS), there’s no need for redesign and layout; it’s fully compatible. This is beneficial for the promotion of NACS.

Of course, there are no restrictions on communication; it’s fully compatible with the requirements of IEC 15118.

The maximum voltage for NACS is 1000V DC, with a maximum current of 400A DC. For AC, it’s consistent with J1772.

NACS Stake Handshake Reference Circuit

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