ABB wins Netherlands fast-charging contract

ABB, the world's largest maker of power-transmission gear, got the nod to make chargers for a Dutch charging network designed to ensure that all of the nearly 17 million citizens in the Netherlands are within a 50-kilometer (31-mile) drive of a fast-charging station.

Even better, the Fastned stations will have solar canopies.

Fastned, which a couple of years ago was chosen by the Dutch government to build out the charging infrastructure and its stations, tapped ABB to make chargers for what will be more than 200 stations throughout the country. To compare, green-car-heavy Massachusetts, which is about half the physical size of the Netherlands, has 175 publicly accessible charging stations, according to US Department of Energy figures. The first Dutch stations are expected to be completed by September, with construction continuing through 2015. Even better, the Fastned stations will have solar canopies. The Netherlands had just 7,500 or so EVs on its roads earlier this year, but that number was an eightfold increase from the prior year, as the government has used tools such as financial incentives and free charging in cities like Amsterdam to spur plug-in vehicle purchases.

ABB continues to broaden its exposure to the green car world. Early last year, the company reached an agreement with Nissan North America to test used lithium-ion EV batteries for potential energy-storage capability. And in 2011, ABB invested $10 million in US charging-station maker ECOtality. Check out ABB's press release on the Netherlands infrastructure agreement below.
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ABB to build world's largest nationwide network of EV fast-charging stations in the Netherlands

ABB wins contract for nationwide electric vehicle fast-charging infrastructure in the Netherlands bringing a charging station within 50 kilometers of all 16.7 million inhabitants
Zurich, Switzerland, July 8, 2013 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, announced today that it has been selected by Fastned to supply chargers to more than 200 electric vehicle fast-charging stations in the Netherlands, bringing an EV fast charger within 50 kilometers of all of the country's 16.7 million inhabitants.

Each of the more than 200 Fastned stations along Dutch highways will be equipped with several multi-standards fast chargers, such as the 50 kilowatt (kW) Terra 52 and Terra 53 models, capable of charging electric vehicles in 15-30 minutes. The first ABB Terra fast chargers are due to be delivered in September 2013. Construction of the Fastned stations, which will have solar canopies, is expected to be completed by 2015.

To date, the Netherlands is the most populous country to roll out a nationwide fast-charging network. Fast-chargers will be located a maximum of 50 kilometers apart along all highways, and because of ABB's multi-standard design, the network will be capable of serving EVs offered by all major car brands from Europe, Asia and the USA. ABB's open standards-based cloud connectivity solution allows Fastned to create a user-friendly payment and access service for all drivers.

"Fastned chose ABB for its proven expertise in deploying and managing nationwide EV charging networks," said Ulrich Spiesshofer, Executive Committee Member responsible for Discrete Automation and Motion. "ABB provides the chargers and industry-leading software solutions for remote servicing as well as connectivity to subscriber management and payment systems."

Each web-connected ABB fast charger has a wide range of connectivity features, including remote assistance, management and servicing and smart software upgrades.

ABB's multi-standard design supports all fast-charging standards and protocols such as CCS and CHAdeMO. This is critical to maintain compatibility between rapidly evolving cars and chargers in the years to come, and will allow Fastned to maintain a reliable service and to upgrade its network as the technology evolves.

"This countrywide network of locations will lay the basis for the commercially viable development of e-mobility," said Bart Lubbers, one of Fastned's founders. "I foresee a race towards faster charging and larger batteries throughout the car industry."

The plan to deploy EV fast-charging stations along Dutch highways started in 2011 when Fastned asked the Ministry of Infrastructure for permission to implement an EV-charging network. In December 2011, the government announced a public-tender process to facilitate the deployment of charging facilities at the 245 service stations along the Dutch highways. Fastned gained concessions for 201 locations.

ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 145,000 people.

Fastned (www.fastned.nl) is a Dutch start-up founded in 2011 by Bart Lubbers and Michiel Langezaal to realize a nationwide charging infrastructure. The business rationale is based on the concept that the first market entrant will be able to pick the best locations for fast chargers in a country, justifying an early stage investment.