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News and comment from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander
Electrical equipment suppliers compete for electric vehicle infrastructure
As deployments of public fast-charging stations grow, companies vie for reaching early adopters and establishing presence in critical regions. Video: Developments in the growing market.
Based on current sales levels, it’s probably safe to say that you haven’t bought an electric vehicle (EV) yet, but there are more on the road now than there were even a year or two ago. One of the considerations that has impeded wider adoption (besides the cost of the cars) is the ability to recharge away from your home base. Slow chargers that you can install in your own garage are simple and relatively inexpensive, but if you are far from home you want the ability to top-up your battery in a convenient place and in a hurry.
Public fast-charging stations are getting to be more common. They let you juice up in a relatively short time, say 30 minutes. These charging stations are coming from a few familiar companies, and they are competing to establish themselves in critical areas.
For example, ABB will be manufacturing its Terra 51 intelligent fast charger in New Berlin, WI. This unit reduces EV charging times from eight hours, to as little as 15 to 30 minutes using regular ac. The Terra 51 was initially launched in Europe in 2010 as the region’s first commercially available dc charging station, and is well established as a leading fast charger in terms of installed base, reliability, and functionality.
Ecotality makes Blink charging stations, and has entered into an agreement with Ikea for the furniture retailer to host chargers at its stores in the western U.S. (Ecotality’s Steve Schey discusses recent developments in the video.)
GE Energy’s Industrial Solutions business has unveiled its new WattStation EV charging station and software platform which allows owners to manage charging stations remotely, giving them the ability to manage and set customer pricing for EV charging, provide access control at their facilities, generate reports, and engage with customers.
As one might expect, these charging stations are taking full advantage of current mobile technologies. There are apps that help you find the closest location and manage payments. Scan the QR code on the unit with your smart phone and you’re in business.
These things are going to be springing up all over the place. Now we just need affordable electric cars.