The adoption rates for EVs will be pushed strongly by use of alternatively-powered vehicles in the commercial sector, and for mass mobility transit
The automotive industry globally is witnessing increasing adoption of electric vehicles (EV). This also leads to a bigger need for the development and deployment of newer & more-improved EV charging infrastructure. Auto Tech Review caught up with André Burdet, Head, Product Management & Marketing, Grid Integration, Hitachi ABB Power Grids, on the sidelines of the company’s launch of ‘Grid-eMotion Fleet’ grid-to-plug EV charging system. Hitachi ABB Power Grids has the world’s largest installed base of charging infrastructure, with four business units – Grid Automation, Grid Integration, High Voltage Products and Transformers.
The company’s Grid-eMotion solution is a larger umbrella that has been present for a while, with the first option being Grid-eMotion Flash for high-speed charging of electric buses. Meanwhile, the new Grid-eMotion Fleet is a full ‘grid-to-plug’ solution that is aimed at meeting the charging requirements of large-scale public transport and commercial fleets. This smart mobility solution enables operators to efficiently scale up their EV operations, and is expected to contribute to a sustainable society for a large number of people living in urban areas.
The Grid-eMotion Fleet from Hitachi ABB Power Grids marks a shift from a charger product-based approach to a charging system-based approach, which helps to accelerate the future of smart mobility. This solution has leveraged ABB’s global power systems capabilities along with Hitachi’s advanced digital technologies and proven track record of innovation in smart cities and sustainable mobility. The solution is aimed at fleet charging locations like depots, where the vehicle fleets come for a stopover for a relatively long period of time, so as to be able to be recharged.
The company offers this solution in standard containers that integrate the grid connection and charging systems all together. The solution uses DC technology and can connect to any type of power network, removing the complexities of integrating AC-DC chargers into a system. The main advantages of Grid-eMotion over conventional connection to the AC grid are that it requires 60 % reduction in space required for large-scale EV fleet charging, with 40 % lesser cabling requirement. This fast-to-install solution harnesses renewable energy through grid integration, smart mobility and digital energy management system, and incorporates insights from data analytics.
Safety features have been infused into this system by design, and the entire connection point adheres to CCS2 standards, along with other battery to charger safety standards, noted Burdet. He said that on the charging side, the DC chargers are floating in nature, and have no discharge to the earthing. In addition, safety features are built into components such as electronic switches and others.
The Grid-eMotion Fleet also leverages the company’s smart energy management solution (EMS) ‚e-mesh‘ to manage and enhance the complete charging infrastructure, calculate bus energy consumption as well as plan and deliver effective services for passengers. Furthermore, digital analysis monitors the battery life data, route data, traffic simulation and depot control to ensure that efficient power use, energy storage and overnight charging are optimised.
Burdet said this new EV fleet charging solution is important in the context of the Indian market for a number of reasons. Firstly, this system can make use of the FAME II incentives on localisation of charging infrastructure. The company has plans to implement this solution in India by 2022, wherein customers opting for such a solution will have the ability to receive incentives to the tune of dollars per kWh of installation.
Another important benefit of this system is in minimising operations costs for charging. The Grid-eMotion solution is a non-capital expenditure model, which costs much lower than setting up a conventional large charging infrastructure, due to its existing benefits of lower space and cabling requirements. Additionally, asset ownership is not with the fleet owners, but rather with the company, which also adds to the benefits of lower capex, noted Burdet.
In the domestic market of India, the first aspect of business would be brought in by large-scale investors who would take up this system and install it at their locations, observed Burdet. These locations could then be rented out to fleets, which would pay a pre-fixed rate for the electricity used in the process of charging. The company has also inked agreements with Ashok Leyland and IIT Madras, so as to gain traction on the industrial and academia fronts for future adoption of the Grid-eMotion solution. Hitachi ABB has also partnered with the National Institute of Technology, Warangal, to drive smart electric grid education.
Hitachi ABB Power Grids is also working on the specific needs of the Indian market with regards to charging infrastructure, for which its India Development Centre at Bengaluru plays a large role. Burdet said the elements of the Grid-eMotion solution Fleet will be localised in the country for domestic utilisation. The pilot project with Ashok Leyland is to develop and test new electric buses using the world’s fastest flash-charging technology from ABB. This goes to show that the company is focussing on innovative technologies for the EV sector, noted Burdet. India is looking at leapfrogging in the EV race, and Hitachi ABB Power Grids aspires to contribute to this journey, he concluded.
TEXT: Naveen Arul