BRISBANE ON TRACK: FIRST MASS USE OF NEW E-BUS CHARGING TECH

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Hitachi ABB


FOLLOWING Japanese technology giant Hitachi’s acquisition of European vehicle-charging specialist ABB on July 1, a newly formed company called Hitachi ABB Power Grids looks set to have Brisbane feature its latest “game-changing” Grid-eMotion™ Fleet EV charging system for first mass use anywhere, the company confirms.

BRISBANE ON TRACK: FIRST MASS USE OF NEW E-BUS CHARGING TECH
This compact design clusters the entire e-mesh™ PowerStore™ charging system in one location, which eases maintenance and saves space at parking slots, Hitachi ABB describes.

Designed for large scale e-Mobility, Grid-eMotion™ Fleet – announced online globally this week in a virtual press launch due to the Covid-19 impact - is a full ‘grid-to-plug’ solution for large-scale public transport and commercial fleets, enabling operators to ‘charge more with less’, Hitachi ABB states.

As first reported by www.busnews.com.au two years ago, Brisbane City Council’s Registration of Interest announcement for the new Brisbane Metro bus project was always intended to attract some of the most advanced technology and designs to form its envisaged next-gen bus transport system. With confirmation late November, 2019, it would be spearheaded by a Hess-Volgren-ABB winning bid, an eventually successful 18 months of ABB and Hitachi JV negotiations would see the latter now with an 80.1 per cent investment in ABB’s Power Grids business.

Under the leadership of Claudio Facchin as CEO and Toshikazu Nishino as executive vice president and chairman, Hitachi ABB Power Grids will expand Hitachi’s energy solutions business globally as a core part of the company’s Social Innovation Business, it states.

As a step-change approach for public transport and commercial operators, Grid-eMotion™ Fleet ‘smart mobility’ solution enables operators to efficiently scale up their operations and is expected to contribute to sustainable society for millions living in urban areas, the company explains.

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HOW IT WORKS

This compact design clusters the entire e-mesh™ PowerStore™ charging system in one location, which eases maintenance and saves space at parking slots, Hitachi ABB describes.

It requires a significantly shorter installation period compared to traditional installations, it adds. In addition, the thermally insulated enclosures are modular and therefore available in a range of ratings, capacities and layouts to comply with bespoke customer requirements and industry standards, it says.

The full system offering includes charging hardware, control software and a comprehensive service agreement that supports operators with an efficient, flexible, easy-to-use and intelligent system, providing the highest lifecycle value at the lowest risk, it confirms.

Grid-eMotion™ Fleet features the Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ Digital Enterprise software platform.

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Bruce Warner, Global Segment Manager Transportation Grid Integration, Hitachi ABB Power Gridsx.png

ABOVE: Bruce Warner.

Segment Solutions manager - Transportation at Hitachi ABB, Bruce Warner, explained to ABC magazine that the company is supplying the entire charging infrastructure for Brisbane Metro via its contract with Hess.

"The Brisbane project will be in two stages, a pilot phase and then the full fleet with all the infrastructure," Warner said.

"The technology is already in use elsewhere, but Brisbane could be the first place where it is applied on a mass scale.

"We’re very proud that this would be the first delivery of this new technology (Grid-eMotion™ Fleet) from the Hitachi ABB Power Grids JV," he stated.

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SOLID EXPERIENCE  

ABB has been pioneering EV charging solutions since 2013, where it first introduced innovative flash-charging e-bus solutions in Geneva, Switzerland, and Nantes, France, the company states.

Through close collaboration with transport operators, Hitachi ABB Power Grids has identified a market need for a more holistic approach to large-scale charging, it says. The launch of Grid-eMotion™ Fleet marks a, "…game-changing shift from a charger-product based approach to a charging-system based approach, which helps to accelerate the future of smart mobility," it explains.

Ultimately, Hitachi ABB Power Grids is leveraging its world-class power systems capabilities together with Hitachi’s advanced digital technologies and proven track record of innovation in smart cities and sustainable mobility, it states.

The newly formed joint venture is pioneering a broader range of clean solutions for the global mobility market, it adds.

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ABOVE: Niklas Persson

QUALITY OF LIFE

"The Grid-eMotion™ Fleet launch is a game-changer for anyone managing public transport and commercial EV fleets," said Niklas Persson, managing director of the Grid Integration business unit at Hitachi ABB Power Grids.

"Grid-eMotion™ Fleet delivers unprecedented scalability, space savings and operational efficiency. The solution will accelerate the global uptake of safe, sustainable and smart mobility, whilst contributing to cleaner air and an enhanced quality of life for today’s generation and those to come."

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GRID-EMOTION FLEET

As Hitachi ABB explains, the solution comes in standard containers that integrate the grid connection and charging systems all together.

Grid-eMotion™ Fleet uses DC technology and can connect to any type of power network, removing the complexities of integrating AC-DC chargers into a system, it says. Compared to a conventional connection to the AC grid, the pioneering solution brings a 60 per cent reduction in space required for large-scale EV fleet charging, whilst the depot cabling is reduced by 40 per cent, it confirms. The fast-to-install solution harnesses renewable energy through grid integration, smart mobility, digital energy management system and incorporates insights from data analytics, it states.

Grid-eMotion™ Fleet leverages Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ smart energy management solution e-mesh™ EMS to manage and enhance the complete charging infrastructure, calculate bus energy consumption and devise, plan and deliver effective services for passengers, it explains.

Digital analysis monitors the battery life data, route data, traffic simulation and depot control to ensure that efficient power use, energy storage and overnight charging is optimised, it adds.

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E-BUS SPREAD 

Globally, 801 per cent of municipal bus fleets are forecast to be electric by 2040, Hitachi ABB cites. With more than 400,000 e-buses already in service today, and the number expected to grow to 2.3 million e-buses by 2040, operators now need solutions that go beyond the charger to help them connect seamlessly to the grid to power their expanding EV fleets, it says.

Hitachi ABB Power Grids supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals2 (SDGs) and the launch of Grid-eMotion Fleet will contribute to furthering progress in respect of SDGs 7 and 11, the company boasts.

Hitachi ABB Power Grids - Grid Emotion Fleet Container .jpgABOUT HITACHI ABB

Hitachi ABB Power Grids is global technology leader with a combined heritage of almost 250 years, employing around 36,000 people in 90 countries, it says.

Headquartered in Switzerland, the business serves utility, industry and infrastructure customers across the value chain, and emerging areas like sustainable mobility, smart cities, energy storage and data centres, it adds. 

Sources:

- Electric Vehicle Outlook 2018, Bloomberg NEF, 2018;

- Sustainable Development;

- Goals https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html

- Additional information about Grid-eMotion Fleet™

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