Switzerland-based industrial machine behemoth ABB just announced plans to throw its weight behind a massive network of electric vehicle charging stations across Europe, the US, and Asia. The company plans to integrate chargers into smart grid systems and allow drivers to juice up their electric vehicles while they are out and about. The announcement is a big nod that the nascent electric car market is set to boom – sources project that over 5 million EVs will be sold each year by 2017, and the charger market is valued at $1 billion.
Having an industrial giant get behind car charging infrastructure is a huge boost to the industry. It’s a chicken or egg scenario where people will not buy EVs unless they can charge them away from home, and companies and governments won’t install charging stations unless there are enough cars to support the investment.
ABB has decided to jump with car manufactures into the brave new world of electrified transportation with a range of technologies which will not only charge a car, but improve how our entire electrical grid will run. Answering the projected need for nearly 7.7 million charging stations in the next 5 years, ABB is developing system that will be able to quickly charge a car and make better use of energy from stressed electrical grids — curtailing use during peak demand and charging when supply is abundant.
ABB is working with German energy supplier RWE to develop and prove the technology. They are a key supplier for wind turbines, so their expertise with developing clean technologies and linking them together is very promising.
For consumers, the prospect of shopping or going to work and filling up their batteries – possibly for free – is a huge incentive to take the EV plunge.