ABB to build Europe's largest electric vehicle fast-charging network

Jan 10, 2012 12:00 AM

Leading European power and automation technology leader ABB said it had won a tender offer to build Europe's largest network of fast-charging stations in the Baltic nation of Estonia.
The order from the Estonian government is for 200 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations that would create the world's first fast-charging infrastructure with full nationwide coverage.

ABB said it would start deliveries in the second quarter and plans to have all Terra systems direct current (DC) chargers running by the end of this year.
As part of the five-year contract, ABB will also deliver network operating support services for the chargers in the field and the backbone IT architecture. ABB won the order together with its partners G4S and NOW! Innovations, which provide first-line customer support and payment solutions, respectively.

"This order shows that the rollout of EV charging infrastructure solutions is gaining momentum, and complements the recent run of small orders we've taken in other European countries from original equipment manufacturers in the automotive industry and infrastructure customers," said Ulrich Spiesshofer, head of ABB's discrete automation and motion division.
"To be successful, this infrastructure needs to be open to any kind of electric car. Our connectivity solutions are designed to support all existing and future connection standards within the same network," Spiesshofer said.

The growing number of electric vehicles is driving a global market opportunity for charging solutions including sophisticated monitoring systems and software to support the electric grid. ABB's DC chargers have been used commercially since May 2010 and reduce charging times from eight hours, using regular alternating current (AC), to as little as 15 to 30 minutes.
"The Estonian government would like to ensure that driving an EV in Estonia is as comfortable and safe as driving any other car," said Jarmo Tuisk, director of the 'innovation and technology division at Estonia's ministry of economic affairs and communications. "The country-wide innovative fast charging network with high quality services from ABB and its partners is essential in accomplishing that task."

The Estonian government aims to provide fast charging in all urbanised areas with more than 5,000 inhabitants. It aims to install a fast charger every 50 km on main roads, creating the highest concentration of DC chargers in Europe, by far.
The investments in electric mobility are financed by the Green Investment Scheme funded by the export credit agency KredEx as part of the national government's plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Earlier in the year, the Estonian government started providing 507 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric cars to social workers around the country.

In September, ABB had won an order to install AC chargers at municipality offices. In addition, Estonia offers subsidies of up to 50 % for private EV purchases.
All Terra systems in ABB's rapidly expanding global installed base come with a wide range of connectivity features that help service operators run their network more efficiently through remote maintenance, software updates and high availability levels.

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