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Japan, China to develop unified standard for fast EV chargers

Members from Japanese and Chinese industry groups attend a signing ceremony in Beijing on Aug. 28, 2018, for an agreement aimed at developing a unified standard for next-generation electric vehicle chargers. (Kyodo)

BEIJING (Kyodo) -- Japanese and Chinese industry groups, which have been promoting different standards for fast chargers for electric vehicles, formally agreed Tuesday to jointly develop a unified standard for next-generation chargers.

    The signing of a memorandum of understanding marks the two countries' attempt to create a global norm for fast chargers, a key device in popularizing EVs.

    "If Japan and China co-develop the next-generation standard (for fast chargers), it could cement its position as a global norm," said Toshiyuki Shiga, a Nissan Motor Co. board member who leads the Japanese industry group known as the CHAdeMO Association.

    Shiga signed the MOU in a ceremony in Beijing along with Yang Kun, deputy head of the China Electricity Council.

    The Japanese group has been pushing for the CHAdeMO standard, while its Chinese counterpart has been using the GB/T standard.

    There is another standard for fast EV chargers -- Combo -- which is adopted in Europe and the United States, but the Japanese and Chinese standards, if combined, control over 90 percent of the global market in terms of the number of EV charging stations.

    The Japanese association, consisting of automakers, auto parts manufacturers and others, said last Wednesday the two entities aim to put a new unified standard, which will be compatible with CHAdeMO and GB/T, into practical use by 2020.

    The creation of a unified standard will be a boon to Japanese automakers accelerating efforts to sell EVs in China -- the world's largest market for EVs -- as the Chinese government promotes the spread of eco-friendly cars in a bid to curb air pollution.

    Beijing will impose on automakers a production quota for vehicles such as EVs and plug-in hybrids from 2019.

    Global sales of EVs are expected to reach 11.25 million units in 2035, roughly 15 times that of 2017, according to Fuji Keizai Co., a Tokyo-based market research firm.

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