Energizing private ­vehicles, public ­transit and ports

Energizing private ­vehicles, public ­transit and ports

Demand for all forms of electric vehicles is booming. This trend is being propelled by a desire to counteract poor urban air quality, reduce noise, improve quality of life, and, above all, minimize global climate change.

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Alessandro Di Nicco ABB Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Terranuova Bracciolini, Italy, alessandro.dinicco@it.abb.com; Diego Pareschi ABB Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Delft, the Netherlands, diego.pareschi@nl.abb.com; Kumail Rashid ABB Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Singapore, kumail.rashid@sg.abb.com

The most visible sector in which this trend is taking shape is personal transportation. For instance, according to BloombergNEF’s Electric Vehicle Outlook 2020 [1,2] annual passenger EV sales will reach 26 million by 2030 while electric buses will completely dominate their sector by the late-2020s.

But cars and buses (also trucks) aren’t the only kinds of vehicles making the transition to electric power. EVs are also very suitable for applications such as those fulfilled by automated guided vehicles (AGVs).

AGVs have a range of advantages: no driver is needed, allowing personnel to be redeployed to more productive tasks; performance and costs are predictable; vehicles operate 24/7; and overall safety is improved within the automation environment in which they operate.

With so many EV types entering the market, the rush is on to build charging stations – which is where ABB comes in. ABB has years of experience in developing, installing, commissioning, and maintaining charging infrastructures. In fact, the company is now the partner of choice for the world’s biggest electric vehicle OEMs and nationwide EV charging network operators.

This experience has underpinned the decision by major companies and public entities to choose ABB as a partner in the deployment of public transit, private vehicle, and AGV charging – the subjects of the following three examples.

[1] BloombergNEF, Electric vehicle outlook 2020. Available at: https://about.bnef.com/electric-vehicle-outlook/#toc-download [Accessed November 11, 2020]
[2] Energypost.eu, “EVs to make up third of market in 2040, e-buses to dominate end 2020s,” May 28, 2018. Available at: https://energypost.eu/evs-to-make-up-third-of-market-in-2040-e-buses-to-dominate-end-2020s/ [Accessed November 11, 2020]

Northern Italy’s industrial metropolis, has a roadmap to a green future. The city of over three million plans to trade in all of its 1,200 diesel buses for brand-new all-electric ones by 2030.

By 2030, Milan’s entire range of public transit services, including trolleys and subways, will be 100 percent electric. The city’s public transit service (Azienda Trasporti Milanesi or ATM), which operates 158 bus lines covering 1,550 km, estimates that, when fully implemented, conversion of its buses will slash its demand for diesel fuel by 30 million liters per year and cut CO₂ emissions by 75,000 tons per year.

What is more, ATM has stipulated that all of the energy generated for its electrical systems must be guaranteed to come from certified renewable sources and must thus have a zero emissions footprint. Expected to cost upwards of € 1.5 billion, the plan to exchange diesel buses for electric ones – and install an associated charging infrastructure – is the result of a commitment made by the city at the Paris Climate Summit.

Initial plans call for three of the city’s five bus depots to be converted into electric charging hubs for buses as well as for large fleets of service vehicles. In addition, four new depots will be built. One of the hubs is also being outfitted with 100 kW recharging stations from ABB →01, as well as modular ABB transformer stations and plug-in charging columns, all of which will be managed by algorithms designed to optimize the recharging process while minimizing energy demand. Substantial amounts of energy will also be saved once an automated and optimized parking system for arriving and departing buses is implemented.

01 Milan’s new all-electric buses can charge overnight in 5 hours at ABB charging stations. The city expects to have 1,200 such buses in service by 2030.
01 Milan’s new all-electric buses can charge overnight in 5 hours at ABB charging stations. The city expects to have 1,200 such buses in service by 2030.

By the end of 2021, the city expects to be operating 167 fully electric buses and 8 terminus stations equipped with 200-kW pantographs, each capable of supplying 35 kWh in eight to 10 minutes – more than enough power to ensure an effortless return trip to the depot, regardless of heating and cooling requirements.

The buses themselves will be powered by nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) 240 kWh batteries capable of completing a 180 km zero-emissions route under the most stressful conditions. Buses will be fully recharged in 5 hours each night at their respective depots.

In a report [1] entitled “Elements of success: Urban transportation systems of 24 global cities,” McKinsey & Company placed Milan among the world’s top ten cities in terms of the quality of its mobility systems. The report analyzed mobility according to availability, accessibility, efficiency, convenience, and sustainability before, during and after trips and in conjunction with customers’ opinions.

[1] McKinsey & Company, “Elements of success: Urban transportation systems of 24 global cities.” Available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Business%20Functions/Sustainability/Our%20Insights/Elements%20of%20success%20Urban%20transportation%20systems%20of%2024%20global%20cities/Urban-transportation-systems_e-versions.ashx [Accessed on 16.04.2021]

Japan wants to modernize its electric vehicle infrastructure and accelerate its shift toward sustainable mobility. More specifically, it intends to increase the share of EVs and plug-in hybrids on its roads to between 20 – 30 percent by 2030, from just 1 percent in 2018 [2] .

To meet this goal, e-Mobility Power Co., Inc, (eMP), a joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO) and Chubu Electric Power, two of Japan’s biggest utility companies, has selected ABB’s newly launched Terra 184 electric vehicle chargers. The high-power, compact chargers will be installed at roadside retail locations and other public places across the country to offer users quick and convenient charging options anytime, anywhere. In late 2020 eMP began replacing obsolete chargers with more than 250 Terra 184 units.

With the ability to charge up to two electric vehicles simultaneously, the Terra 184 is part of ABB’s product line of DC fast chargers. Designed to produce 180 kW of charging power for one outlet or simultaneously providing 90 kW for two separate outlets, the chargers are capable of handling future EV models equipped with high voltage battery systems and can provide a quick refill of 60-mile range in under 8 minutes of charge.

Terra 184 chargers are based on the CHAdeMO charging standard, the development of which was led by TEPCO, eMP’s main shareholder. The chargers are also based on OCPP, an international standard protocol, which allows them to be remotely controlled and maintained.

Thanks to its conformity with these standards, the Terra 184 can be connected via ABB Ability™ – ABB’s unified, cross-industry, digital offering that extends from device to edge to the cloud – for centralized control and fast global service for software updates and maintenance – attributes that are vital for the rapid deployment of EV charging infrastructures. This allows EV charging network operators to develop deep insights and statistics on energy usage at the charger, site, and network levels [3].

02 Terra 184 chargers offer customizable features such as cable management systems, screens and credit card payment terminals.
02 Terra 184 chargers offer customizable features such as cable management systems, screens and credit card payment terminals.

With highly customizable features such as cable management systems, screens and credit card payment terminals, the Terra 184 delivers maximum charging convenience for a broad range of EV users →02. Offering a safe, smart, and sustainable charging solution that supports ABB Electrification’s Mission to Zero, a vision for a zero-emission reality for all, the Terra 184 is available direct from ABB in Europe and in North America.

[2] ABB, “Terra 184 chargers to support modernization of Japan’s EV charging infrastructure,” Available: https://new.abb.com/news/detail/66110/abbs-terra-184-chargers-to-support-modernization-of-japans-ev-charging-infrastructure [Accessed November 24, 2020]
[3] ABB, “ABB chargers to boost modernization of Japan’s EV charging,” Available: https://eepower.com/news/abb-chargers-to-boost-modernization-of-japans-ev-charging/[Accessed November 24, 2020]

Two of the major trends driving all forms of mobility are the introduction of electric vehicles and the rise of autonomous vehicles.

In Singapore, these trends are set to converge at the Tuas Port, which, by 2040, is slated to feature the world’s largest fully automated container terminal. With an annual handling capacity of 65 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), the terminal will be a major milestone in Singapore’s development [4].

Set to enter preliminary service in late 2021, the terminal →03a will phase in a fleet of 162 automated guided vehicles (AGVs) over two years to handle the distribution of heavy shipping containers. Those vehicles will be electrified and powered by the port’s DC charging infrastructure, which will be supplied by ABB. In addition, the company has worked closely with the Land Systems arm of ST Engineering to secure a contract with PSA Singapore, the port’s operator, to deliver and commission integrated smart charging stations for the facility’s AGV fleet.

  • 03a The terminal’s 162 AGVs will be electrified and powered by an ABB charging infrastructure.
  • 03b Each charging station will be integrated into an “eHouse” with supporting electrical infrastructure in a complete e-mobility solution.

03 Tuas Port, Singapore, automated container terminal project.

The contract includes eighteen smart fast-charging stations with built-in fault tolerance and self-diagnostic features. Each station will be integrated into an “eHouse” on a prefabricated skid, outfitted with medium- and low-voltage switchgear, a transformer and 450 kW high-power chargers with associated control and monitoring equipment [5]. This configuration combines EV charging with its supporting electrical infrastructure in a complete e-mobility solution →03b.

Although ABB offers a portfolio of heavy commercial electric vehicle pantograph connection options, at Tuas, such solutions would be impeded by the presence of a container on an AGV. As a result, specially designed and customized side-access, pin-type connectors from Stäubli will be used. Combined Charging System (CCS), an open and universal charging protocol based on international standards, will ensure communication between each electric vehicle and the charging infrastructure.

PSA’s fleet management systems will centrally monitor the status of the port’s charging stations and AGV battery levels and schedule the AGVs for charging accordingly. Once an AGV arrives at its designated charging station, it will signal that it is ready to commence its charging session.

A breakthrough for ABB, the Singapore port project marks the first time the company’s chargers will be used to power a fleet of autonomous vehicles for commercial operation.

[4] ABB, “Smart charging infrastructure for Singapore port’s automated guided vehicles,” Available: https://new.abb.com/news/detail/63868/smart-charging-infrastructure-for-singapore-ports-automated-guided-vehicles [Accessed November 24, 2020]
[5] ABB, “ABB to electrify autonomous vehicles for new port in Singapore,” Available: https://new.abb.com/news/detail/35893/abb-to-electrify-autonomous-vehicles­-for-new-port-in-singapore [Accessed November 24, 2020]


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