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ABB's Future Charger Technology R&D Center
ABB's Future Charger Technology R&D Center

ABB: Charging Into An EV World

By Bill Moore

In an EV world divided over which charging standard is the best, Swiss-Swedish industrial giant ABB is seeking to bringing some order to the chaos by returning to its roots with 3,600 sq meter R&D center in the Netherlands

Everyone loves the idea of fast charging their electric car, despite the fact that our cars usually sit idle 90 percent of the time. Still when we do want to take that longer trip, we don't really want to sit at some way station for a couple hours topping off the battery every hundred or so miles. Turning several hours into several minutes is -- along with cutting EV sticker prices and extending driving range — the Holy Grail we all seek. That's one factor that helped sell Tesla: it's Supercharger stations.

While several hour-charging via Level 2 pretty much remains the norm worldwide, increasingly, DC 'fast charging' is starting to make inroads. As Frank Muhlon, ABB's head of Global Business for EV Charging, points out in this 30+ minute interview with EV World publisher BIll Moore (@EVisioneer), the world's first 350kW DC fast charger is now up and running right here in the USA. Now there aren't any cars available today to buyers that can charge at that power, which theoretically makes sub-15 minute charging possible. A prototype Audi eTron supposedly is capable of that rate and Porsche claims its soon-to-launch Taycan will be able to accept charges at that level.

As fast charging becomes the norm and more EVs take to the road, charging standards and the technology around which they are engineered becomes increasingly important. This is why, explains Muhlon, ABB is about to invest millions of dollars in its new R&D center at Delft Technological University in the Netherlands. The 3,600 square meter (38,750 sq feet) facility will concentrate on testing and evaluating EV charging technology with a primary focus on conductive rather than inductive (wireless).

Presently, there are several EV charging standards: CHAdeMO favored by Nissan and CCS2 (a combined US/European standard). Of course, Tesla has its own standard and China is pushing its own as well. But convergence seems to be gradually taking place. Last week, Tesla announced it would offer CCS2 on its European-bound Model3. CHAdeMo seems to be losing ground, and the turmoil around the arrest of Carlos Ghosn, makes the future of EVs at the alliance somewhat uncertain. All this means there needs to be more research into what works best under what conditions and that’s the mission of the ABB facility in Delft.

To learn more, be sure to listen to the interview in its entirely. You can use the embedded MP3 player below or you can download the file to your computer for later playback on the device of your choice.

Times Article Viewed: 16280
Originally published: 21 Nov 2018

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