Scaling Up EV Charging Infrastructure

Interview with André Burdet, Vice-President, Product Management & Marketing, Hitachi ABB Power Grids

E-mobility is growing at a rapid pace across the world as countries take steps to reduce vehicular emissions. This necessitates the creation of large-scale public charging infrastructure but often, there are constraints with respect to space and electrical connections in existing transport terminals. To address this challenge, Hitachi ABB Power Grids recently launched the Grid-eMotion™ Fleet, a scalable, modular and customisable solution for charging large fleets of electric vehicles in public and commercial transport. By concentrating most of the charging equipment at a central location, the technology has the potential to reduce the space requirement by up to 60 per cent in confined depot environments while facilitating grid interconnections. In an interview with Power Line, André Burdet, Vice-President, Product Management and Marketing, Hitachi ABB Power Grids, talks about the revolutionary technology and its benefits. Excerpts…

What are some of the key challenges involved in scaling up charging infrastructure? How will Hitachi ABB’s Grid e-motion Fleet change the EV charging landscape?

Some of the key challenges of scaling up charging infrastructure are:

  • Existing depot and parking lot facilities are not originally designed for large-scale charging. When a lot of chargers need to be installed, there are often space and electrical connection issues. Grid-eMotion Fleet is designed to save space and cluster electrical equipment in one modular area (that can be placed elsewhere than the charging point) for easier maintenance and operations (compared to a scattered set of conventional chargers).
  • As charging infrastructure scales up, power demand grows. Electrical integration with the grid becomes more critical (besides the chargers themselves). Grid-eMotion Fleet contains not only the chargers themselves, but also the main grid integration elements and the digital infrastructure to optimise operations. As such, electrical and grid integration is rendered more easily. Also, Hitachi ABB Power Grids is a world-leader in grid systems and can help operators and owners determine most suited solutions for a grid connection and electrical integration in a given location.
  • Scale-up also necessitates a more intelligent tracking of the performance of the assets to ensure safe and effective operations for charging many vehicles. Grid-eMotion contains the digital infrastructure too, which enables large-scale charging from a hardware standpoint, as well as brings benefits of digital for monitoring and optimizing assets on a continuous basis.
  • Eventually scale-up requires technologies that are not becoming stranded as fast as technology advances. Grid-eMotion is based on DC system technology, which provides provisions for potential future upgrades with, for example, energy storage and vehicle to grid solutions.

What are its potential benefits vis-a-vis existing solutions?

Today conventional existing solutions are all based on the notion that a charger is a standalone product that connects to the AC grids. If one wants multiple points of charge, then multiple conventional chargers must be purchased, and an AC connection system needs to be installed separately. Grid-eMotionFleet is conceived as a system of chargers that alleviates the challenge of integrating multiple conventional chargers together.

What are some of the focus countries/regions for the company’s latest charging solution?

Hitachi ABB Power Grids has a local presence in all continents. As such, the Grid-eMotion suite of charging solutions is available for all continents. Also, in all continents policies and related regulations are set in place (at various speeds). Therefore, we expect EVs to grow globally.




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