By Bob Stojanovic, ABB’s Senior Vice President, E-Mobility North America
While reports of how the US has lagged behind other countries in the EV adoption stakes continue to hit the headlines, what often gets overlooked is the critical and significant groundwork underway that is paving the way for the e-mobility boom currently hitting the US.
EV registrations hit nearly 500,000 in 2021, an 89% increase over 2020, and in 2021 alone the number of charging stations grew by over 55%. This growth would not have been possible without unwavering collaboration and innovation from stakeholders across our industry.
As the global leader in EV charging infrastructure, ABB is proud to be playing a key role in this journey. We believe in the power of together; that When innovation and collaboration come together we can collectively contribute to mitigating the impacts of climate change and enable a lower carbon society. With the transportation sector alone responsible for approximately 29% of total greenhouse gases globally, the importance of working collaboratively to drive change has never been more critical.
So, what has this collaboration and innovation delivered so far and what should we expect to see in the near future as our country gears up for the e-mobility revolution?
Sector Standards Built on Close Collaboration
The progress we have seen to date would not have been possible without collaboration across the sector, including vehicle manufacturers, charging manufacturers and operators, and international safety and standards bodies to set technology standards.
Out of this collaboration the first DC charging standard, CHAdeMO, was born in 2010, and in that same year, the first CHAdeMO station in Europe was installed with ABB’s DC charging technology. Over the last decade, countless other stakeholders — including energy companies, software companies, and governments — have come on board to drive high levels of interoperability across the sector, crucial to enabling mainstream EV adoption. This included the introduction of the CCS charging standard in 2012, with the first publicly available CCS chargers in the US opened in San Diego in 2013, the result of close collaboration between EVgo and ABB.
Today, the latest statistics suggest that the US currently has more than 6,000 CHAdeMO charging connectors and over 8,700 stations with the CCS connector, with the largest charging network operators embracing both standards to enable the greatest charger availability for EV drivers.
Industry Protocols for Network Software
In the same way that charging standards have been designed to maximize interoperability between EVs and chargers, the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) has been designed as a free-to-use, open-source communication protocol with the aim of making any EV charger work with any charger management software.
Alongside a number of US network operators — including EVgo, Electrify America, and Greenlots (now Shell Recharge Solutions) — ABB has been involved in this pioneering initiative from the start. So, what are the key benefits? Not only does OCPP increase choice for network operators when it comes to charger and software services, crucially, for EV drivers, it helps maximize charger uptime through remote monitoring and maintenance, and supports the ongoing implementation of innovations across installed charging hardware.
Successful Charger Deployment Reliant on Uniting Stakeholders
Another area where collaboration has played a key role is the successful launch and operation of charging sites, bringing together a vast number of stakeholders, including hardware providers, network operators, real estate owners, local authorities, utilities, and installers, to name just a few.
The fragmented and diverse nature of local governments and state utility commissions mean charger deployment is more complex in the US than in other countries. However, early engagement with utilities and permitting authorities in EV infrastructure deployment projects ensures that the high power needed for any charging site can be supplied in a safe and stable way without compromising the grid. In fact, most large utilities in the US are building teams to address charging infrastructure in their regions, and many smaller municipal and rural utilities are working hard to be ready for the coming wave of transportation electrification.
Evidence of this proactive approach to supporting e-mobility adoption is demonstrated by the formation of the National Electric Highway Coalition, a body made up of 51 investor-owned electric companies, one electric cooperative, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. The coalition recently announced that it will provide electric vehicle fast-charging ports along major US travel corridors by the end of 2023.
Varying regional regulations for sitting, permitting, and accessibility add a further challenge into the mix. However, many states and communities have worked in collaboration with EV industry stakeholders to build “EV Ready” plans that prepare communities to meet the growing demand for EVs and EV charging infrastructure, while saving long-term costs by implementing guidelines and infrastructure well in advance .
When it comes to installation, collaboration is equally important. Here at ABB, we invest in training programs that support our partners and customers across the US to ensure the highest levels of safety and competence for contractors and technicians who install our charging systems. Not only does this strengthen the infrastructure rollout program, but it can also positively impact the reliability and longevity of those chargers.
A Sector United for Further E-Mobility Evolution
With the influx of additional funding into the e-mobility sector from the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, ongoing industry collaboration will only become more important. Hand-in-hand with additional funding, market diversification is inevitable, with many new players entering the space. In order to help build a nationwide public network of 500,000 EV charging ports by 2030, ABB will continue its focus on cross-industry collaboration and we look forward to welcoming and working with the new entrants into the e-mobility economy.
We’re all on the same journey to progress the EV revolution; it’s clear that collaboration is critical and that ABB is a key partner. That’s where we can harness the power of together. Here you can find out more about ABB’s innovation and collaboration in action, our commitment to sustainability, and electrification technologies that enable a lower carbon society, as well as finding useful insights and materials for your own business’s sustainability goals.
This article is supported by ABB.
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