ABB today is the global technology leader in fast-charging products and systems that are transforming transportation in sustainable ways. Sustainable transportation is playing a crucial role in the fight against climate change, as e-mobility begins to replace fossil-fuel-powered vehicles spewing greenhouse gases contributing to global warming.
The forthcoming ABB FIA Formula E Championship race in Zurich holds historical significance, taking place in a city and country where ABB and its predecessor Brown Boveri have a legacy dating to the 19th century as a pioneering leader in electric-powered transportation, starting with electric trains, trams and trolley cars. That was partly because the prevalence of hydropower in Switzerland, and the lack of naturally occurring coal or oil made electricity a preferred means of locomotion.
And ABB in the 20th century continued to improve the performance and energy efficiency of electric trains and buses – providing traction converter and motors, power-management systems and, in the case of battery-powered vehicles, innovative recharging technologies.
ABB transformed maritime shipping, which is concentrated at ports in major cities, with the Azipod, an electric propulsion system for seagoing vessels. Introduced in 1990, the Azipod, which extends below the hull of a ship, can be rotated 360 degrees to increase maneuverability, efficiency and space available on board. Today, a wide range of vessels depend on Azipod propulsion, including cruise ships; icebreakers and ice-going cargo vessels; ferries and mega-yachts; offshore supply fleets; research vessels; wind turbine installation boats and drilling rigs.
In 2013, ABB unveiled TOSA, a groundbreaking flash-charging technology for electric buses that charges the buses’ batteries in 20-second bursts at bus stops while passengers are boarding and disembarking. This is just one of the many different technical solutions for electric buses ABB has on offer – tailor-made to the needs of the topography and operators.
Further pioneering technology solutions can be found around the world in alpine areas, where ABB motors and drives keep cableways in the most reliable and energy-efficient way moving.
The Azipod and TOSA are but two of a wealth of world-altering innovations from ABB (see more of ABB's e-mobility achievements). The recently launched Terra HP is the fastest electric vehicle charger on the planet. It can charge an electric car battery in 8 minutes to cover 200 km. Today ABB has the world’s largest installed base of fast chargers – some 7,000 in 60 countries, with orders for thousands more.
Now, by demonstrating the power, speed and viability of battery-powered automobiles, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is proving that electric cars are a cutting-edge, no compromise 21st-century technology. As the global pressures of climate change, emerging-market economic development and growing urbanization demand new and more environmentally sustainable ways to move people and goods, ABB’s role as a world leader in e-mobility is more crucial than ever. ABB believes in running the world without consuming the Earth – and has focused its R&D and technological expertise in making this happen.