ABB puts digital solutions at the heart of e-mobility revolution at CERAWeek

The Energy and Industrial Revolutions are shifting into a higher gear, putting the entire value chain for electric vehicles (EVs) into focus, ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer told attendees at this year’s CERAWeek in Houston, Texas. The event, which is considered the world’s premier annual gathering about the future of energy hosted a crowd of 4,000 delegates. ABB’s pioneering technologies in digital industries were showcased while ABB executives shared insights on industry trends for the future.

CERAWeek took place in Houston, Texas, one week after ABB left its mark on the city with its own bi-annual ABB Customer World (ACW). ABB executives took the stage at the event to discuss how to address some of the world’s biggest challenges, which are created by the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolutions and are changing the way we power our societies, produce our goods and services, and work, live and move.

As a testimony to how rapidly industry is changing and highlighting ABB’s role as a pioneering technology leader, ABB showcased two technologies that did not exist 10 years ago: collaborative robots and EV charging infrastructure. Both are changing the way we live and work.

Research of consultant McKinsey shows that of the $7.7 trillion automotive market in 2030 more than half of revenues will come from so-called disruptive opportunities such as electric and (semi) autonomous vehicles.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, one of the world’s biggest oil and gas groups in the world, also recently confirmed the trend towards an electrified future. The group said it aims to become the world’s largest electricity company, according to a Financial Times report.

The building blocks for e-mobility are in place – the technology is ready and electric vehicles are affordable. In his discussion titled– “The Future of Mobility: an industry perspective” ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer told attendees, “We see a tremendous acceleration in the shift towards e-mobility, especially in Europe and China, which are two key markets driving the uptake of electric vehicles. In China, we will soon see EVs making up a substantial share of new vehicle registrations, driven both by consumers and the government. In Europe, big carmakers such as Renault-Nissan, Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW are all moving at full speed in the direction of EV, and the line-up of vehicles is extremely impressive.”

To enable a sustainable e-mobility value chain, four things are needed: electric cars, a charging infrastructure, a grid integration of the charging infrastructure and renewable energy sources on the supply side. As a pioneering technology leader in digital industries ABB is represented across the entire value chain. “When it comes to cars, we are the leading robotics partner to EV manufacturers around the world, with specific solutions for battery and drivetrain manufacturing,” Spiesshofer said.

In fast-charging ABB is the global leader with more than 10,000 fast-charging stations installed in more than 73 countries. ABB Ability™, the company’s innovative offering of digital solutions and services across all business areas, enables the chargers to connect to the cloud to allow remote monitoring and maintenance to guarantee uninterrupted serves at the most remote location under the harshest weather conditions.

“E-mobility is as much a part of the energy transition as renewables are. They complement each other and neither makes sense without the other,” Spiesshofer added. “There is not much point in switching to e-mobility if the power still comes from fossil energy, just as there is no point in switching to renewables, if we keep running everything on fossil energy.”

“We are the only global company that offers the complete range of components and their grid integration from low voltage EV charging infrastructure to ultra-high voltage interconnected transmission grids,” Claudio Facchin, the head of ABB’s Power Grids division said on the sidelines of the conference. “Therefore ABB Power Grids is ideally positioned to integrate renewable energy sources, thus enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.” 

For companies in the energy sector, ABB provides fully integrated automation solutions across process, motion, electrical and digital to improve safety, productivity and energy efficiency. “At the center of our value proposition are our ABB AbilityTM digital solutions, which enable our customers to lead through safer and smarter operations, and drive efficiency and productivity across industrial processes, ranging from very simple to the most complex,” Peter Terwiesch, the head of ABB’s Industrial Automation division said.

Finally, when it comes to renewables integration, whether at the local distribution level or the long-distance transmission level, ABB has the necessary technologies. Together with IBM, ABB has developed a solution, which can predict with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) how much energy a wind turbine park will produce, based on performance data and weather forecasts.

It illustrates the importance of renewable energy sources and the direction ABB is going with AI: from digitally enabled industries to autonomous industries and autonomous operations, where we combine our classic automation and digital offering with AI. “We believe that people will become more augmented by AI, not that they will be replaced by AI systems," ABB’s Chief Digital Officer Guido Jouret said.

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