Davos: Alpine showcase for the future of electric transport

Davos: Alpine showcase for the future of electric transport

Davos’ clean, climate-friendly, sustainable and future-proof transport concept and its eco-friendly generation and distribution of electricity are the envy of cities around the world. ABB’s innovative technology helped make them possible

If you’re looking for standout destinations in the Alps, there’s no ignoring Davos. For politicians and top management, it is the world-renowned host of the annual World Economic Forum (WEF). Wealthy tourists enjoy Davos as a fashionable winter sports resort and literature lovers cherish it as the setting of Thomas Mann’s famous novel, “The Magic Mountain”.

But in recent years Europe’s highest city has come to be appreciated from a completely new angle. As the world seeks answers to the current climate crisis, the little municipality (population: 11,000) has become something of an eco-showcase, demonstrating how we can use existing resources sparingly in a range of areas from energy production to transport.

Although it may appear to be the result of some long-term master plan, that could not be further from the case. What happened was that a number of disparate, forward-looking projects gradually merged into a unique, green concept.

Looking back, however, there was always one constant: Switzerland’s ABB has been involved in nearly all these projects since the beginning of the last century – and remains the key provider of the latest, sustainability focused technology.

This was evident at WEF 2018 where to cater for environmentally aware guests who selected to travel by car, the municipality of Davos installed an extensive infrastructure for electric vehicles as part of a public-private partnership with ABB and the local energy supplier. Eight ABB Terra 53/54 charging points were installed for the occasion – and have been in operation ever since. These 50 kW stations are the bestselling variant in Europe and North America and can boost the charge level of an electric automobile from 0 to 80 percent in just 30 minutes.

Both the municipality and ABB were keen to keep the momentum going and for the first time, in 2019, visitors to the WEF were able to choose eco-friendly transport for the entire journey from Zurich airport to Davos. Car manufacturer Audi provided 50 E-Tron sedans and ABB installed 31 fast-charging stations under the aegis of IONITY, a joint venture charging infrastructure organisation set up by leading car manufacturers including BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche.

The Audi e-shuttle once again went into operation at WEF 2020. This year more than 100 Audi vehicles, including the fully electric Audi e-tron and the flagship Audi A8 as a plug-in hybrid model took to the road, powered by three of ABB’s latest high-power, customized IONITY chargers which can enable a range of 200 kilometers in as little as 8 minutes.

Davos’ consistent, sustainable electro mobility infrastructure has however attracted interest far beyond the bounds of the WEF and is now seen worldwide as a model for future-proof, clean, climate-friendly and sustainable transport.

Indeed, ABB has provided the region with a range of other new and forward-looking forms of mobility from flash charging for electrified buses to the electric funiculars and chair lifts on the slopes in and around Davos, which are powered by energy-efficient ABB motors.

Over the years, ABB has also been involved in providing eco-friendly innovations for rail routes in the area. BBC supplied the legendary narrow gauge locomotives (known as“Crocodiles”) for the Rhaetian Railway, and the electrification specialist equipped the world-renowned “Allegra” trains, introduced in 2010, with highly energy-efficient drive packages.

With its Mission to Zero, ABB’s focus on enabling an emission free future for all has never been clearer. Sustainable transport solutions form a key component of the mission and ABB is delighted to continue its partnership with Davos, which serves as a global showcase of what is possible when a vision for change and innovative technology go hand in hand.


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