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PHOTO CAPTION: ABB Terra 53 fast charger with BMW i3 electric car.

The End of the 'Hundred Year Hiccup'

ABB predicts the planet has reached the tipping point when motor vehicles will return to their original electric origins after what he calls a 'hundred year hiccup.'

Published: 26-Dec-2013

ABB is one of the world's leading energy equipment manufacturers. Their business is providing the hardware needed to make and distribute electric power. And in their view, according to a new OpEd published on their corporate web site and written by Hans Streng, the head of their electric vehicle infrastructure unit, electric vehicles had reached a 'tipping point.'

He writes, "We are now in a transition period where battery prices are dropping by 20-30% each year. The consequences for the automotive industry are mindboggling."

How 'mindboggling?'. Enough to have Tesla outselling Audi and Porsche in California, he points out.

But it's not just the continuing decline in battery prices that propelling the growth of electric car sales, both electric hybrid and all-battery. The largest prospective car maker in the world, China, is confronted by serious air pollution, as are other of the planet's 'megacities.' The problem has become so serious, that government is increasingly taking stronger measures to deal with it. He notes:

The large metropolitan areas are turning into smog centers and the Chinese government has decided to invest massively and switch quickly to e-mobility. The result is the establishment of tens of new companies to produce e-bikes, e-cars, e-buses and batteries.

This clearly presents an enormous opportunity for creating the necessary supporting electric infrastructure, and ABB aims to take advantage of this. Here's how:

ABB is contributing to this critical stage in the market with its Terra 53 charging platform, the world’s first to meet all DC fast-charging standards. With its multi-standard architecture and near-term option to cascade the stations to higher power, the Terra 53 is ideal for highway and city centers, fueling stations, fleets, and other infrastructure investors who are interested in the growing EV charging market. In addition to that, ABB is launching high-power DC home chargers to enable overnight charging of large-battery vehicles, which would otherwise take a weekend or two to charge from an ordinary home-socket – times are changing.

National networks such as the one announced by the Netherlands this past summer will bring fast charging stations to within 50 km of all of the country’s 16.7 million people. To put that into perspective, 16.7 million people is about the size of Shenzhen, and that’s only one Chinese city…

The automotive industry has to switch, and switch quickly. Batteries will do to the automotive industry what flat panels did to TV and PV-panels to the solar business.

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