US e-mobility transformation in focus as ABB Formula E season finale hits New York City

ABB is playing a vital role in transforming America’s e-mobility landscape

As the ABB FIA Formula E Championship lands in New York City, ahead of its double-header Season 5 finale, ABB’s deep expertise in all aspects of e-mobility comes into sharp focus.

Only weeks ago, ABB confirmed its role in electrifying the iconic Maid of the Mist passenger boats that ferry 1.6million passengers to the base of the Niagara Falls every year. Two new Maid of the Mist vessels, powered entirely by high-capacity battery packs and currently being built in New York State, will later this year become the first ever all-electric vessels to be constructed in the US.

Thanks to ABB’s zero-emission technology, their passengers will for the first time be able to experience Niagara Falls undisturbed by noise, vibration or exhaust fumes from a conventional internal-combustion engine. Each of the vessels will be powered by a pair of battery packs with a total capacity of 316 kWh, charged using ABB ship-to-shore connection in only seven minutes between trips.

The new Maid of the Mist vessels
The new Maid of the Mist vessels

Further underlining the boats’ sustainability credentials, their batteries’ power will be hydro-electric: the use of locally produced renewable power will make the energy cycle for the operation of the new Maid of the Mist vessels entirely emission-free.

As Peter Terwiesch, President of ABB’s Industrial Automation business, which offers solutions for a wide range of industries, including marine, confirmed: “Maid of the Mist’s decisive move towards e-mobility signals a new era in the future of transportation and complements ABB’s commitment to power the world without consuming the earth. Reducing emissions at Niagara Falls is not only important for the natural landmark, but also proves that the technologies enabling sustainable mobility are already available today.”

Across the country on the west coast, a rather different, but equally sustainable US urban transport project has ABB technology at its heart.

In Portland, Oregon, an electric bus powered by wind-generated electricity has been in service since April and is a bold step in the ambition of the city’s transport operator, TriMet to run a non-diesel bus fleet by 2040.

Under TriMet’s pilot scheme, five New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGETM electric buses will run along a 13-mile route, with 700 feet of elevation change, with the aim for all-electric buses to be rolled out across the company’s full network system in the near future.

ABB 450kW opportunity-charging or ‘OppCharge’ technology has been installed on the route, using wind-powered electricity to make the buses fully sustainable in their daily operations. ABB 150kW sequential fast chargers are also installed in the bus depot for overnight charging.

America’s famously car-loving culture is also feeling the presence of advanced ABB technology: its Terra HP fast chargers are being used under the Electrify America program, which is investing $2 billion over 10 years in Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, education and access. The ambitious project aims to place chargers along highway routes at intervals of no more than 120 miles (195 kilometers), thus removing ‘range anxiety’ for EV owners. Electrify America has already deployed hundreds of charging stations within and around 17 major metropolitan markets across the country.

ABB is already a world leader in fast-charger installations, with more than 11,000 units sold across 76 countries worldwide, and its US activities underline its position. Frank Muehlon added: “We feel very proud to have installed the first 150 kW charger in the US with EVgo in 2017 and now with Electrify America’s historic investment in US charging infrastructure, we can claim another first with the installation of 350kW high power public charging in the country in 2018, which was a global first.”

EVgo, another major EV charging network operator, has worked with ABB since 2013 and now operates hundreds of ABB fast-charging stations in more than 60 US metropolitan areas. As EVgo’s network has grown, ABB has developed a support structure and service organization, coupled with EVgo’s operations, which keeps chargers reliable, helps to build consumer confidence in EV ownership, and ultimately boosts EV adoption – all in line with ABB’s strategic goals for delivering sustainable transport solutions across the US.

Tarak Mehta, President of ABB’s Electrification business comments: “ABB is committed to writing the future for zero-emission mobility in the US and beyond. This weekend’s Season 5 finale in New York is a fantastic demonstration of the potential for electrification to deliver a sustainable transport ecosystem and we are very excited about the role which we can play in enabling this mobility revolution.”


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