Hitachi ABB Power Grids' game-changing charging system for electric mobility is a full ‘grid-to-plug’ solution for large-scale public transport and commercial fleets, enabling operators to charge more with less. Andre Burdet, Head of Product Management, Hitachi ABB Power Grids, speaks to Autocar Professional about plans for enhancing EV charging and infrastructure in India.
What is the plan behind the development of the Grid e-Motion solution?
We have been working on the charging system since 2011, internally, by thinking about innovation. That’s nearly a decade of experience and innovation for e-mobility, especially in the field of charging. We have experience with our charging system — the e-Motion Flash — which has been there for several years and has over a million hours of operations, with different operators, where we have learned a lot.
We came up with our Grid e-Motion Fleet solution around 2018. From a technology standpoint, we looked at power electronics, and especially different ways of doing the charging system from AC-DC to DC-DC charging.
Then, we decided to work towards the DC-DC charging area; the real work has been really done in 2019 until now.
Grid e-Motion is not just on paper, it is in a pilot project in Italy at a depot of an operator in Milano. We have been investing since 2010, in our competencies related to e-mobility, technologies, people, and not just limited to fleet.
When we think about investments specifically for the e-Motion Fleet, we cannot look at it in isolation — we need to see it holistically across people, technology, labs, partners and engineers. What you see is the investment of over a decade by Hitachi ABB Power Grids.
What is the business potential for Grid e-Motion in India? Can you let us know which companies and States have evinced interest in the same?
We are targeting states and municipalities where they want to work with FAME II scheme. There is a list of over 15 cities that are listed and we are having interactions with some.
Hitachi ABB Power Grids considers India as one of the key markets in the Asian region. What is the target set by the company for the country?
As any organisation and business, we have our internal KPIs. Our ambition is first to have operators who think this solution can bring extra value to what they offer in the market, and enable them to see that it is possible to go large-scale and not just pilot. From that ambition, we want to be market leader. We are not here to do side-business, just like the last percentage of revenues for the business. We believe the future is a lot around the grid and e-mobility. We are in between the two and want to be the market leader here. The Grid e-Motion Fleet is the consequence of this ambition from the innovation standpoint.
App-based mobility platforms such as Ola, Uber, and organisations such as Amazon have announced their intent to have a significant percentage of their vehicles to be electric. Will you be open to working with them?
If you have an operations strategy, where you foresee your fleet is going to be distributed across the city and not going to have a location where you have several chargers, but instead have one charger every few kilometres, then that’s your strategy and you will buy chargers and not going to do anything else. If you have a strategy for your fleet, where you have hubs to park, maintain and charge, this is where we can come in and set up several chargers at the hub.
This interview was first published in Autocar Professional's August 15, 2020 issue.
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