09 Jul 21

'We’re seeing the preparation for a massive upswing in EV growth,' says ABB’s Bob Stojanovic on America's electrification journey

Ahead of the ABB New York City E-Prix, Director of E-mobility for North America, Bob Stojanovic, shared insight into the importance of e-mobility in the US and the huge opportunities for growth on the latest episode of ABB DECODED.

The US is currently the largest customer market for ABB, representing roughly a quarter of group revenues. The company has around 21,000 employees in the country across all states in more than a hundred locations, with nearly 50 manufacturing sites. 

ABB has been a leader in e-mobility for more than a decade and this has been particularly visible within the US, where it partners with vehicle OEMs, charging network operators and power utilities to advance interoperability and accelerate deployment of EVs across all types of vehicles.

Why does e-mobility matter?

One of the most visible and well-documented reasons for e-mobility’s importance is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as a result of the increased efficiency you get from running vehicles not powered by fossil fuels. However, Bob explained there are other benefits. 

“It hit me a couple of years ago when I was in New York City that a lot of things are moved by diesel trucks there, which are pretty loud, especially when you have a large number in a concrete jungle somewhere like Manhattan. I think it’s life-changing for people in an urban environment when noise and noxious fumes go down. That is really an element which people don’t talk about enough.”

Growth and challenges of e-mobility in the US

“The industry is moving forward because it’s a better experience from a drivers’ standpoint and therefore the infrastructure needs to be there to support the vehicles as they come onto the road.”

Over the past ten years, ABB has deployed more than 3,000 DC fast-chargers in the US and provided transit and fleet charging systems to several US cities including Portland, Los Angeles, and St Louis. In addition to the chargers themselves, ABB provides holistic solutions for e-mobility including complete site electrification which can include integrated battery energy storage, energy- and load-management or grid services using bi-directional charging.

ABB is continuing to enhance its top-selling Terra HP charger that offers the easiest possible charging experience for EV drivers and a variety of customisation options for charging operators. The next generation 350 kW Terra HP delivers a premium charging experience for growing number of EV drivers across North America. 

“North America is still in the early stages in terms of e-mobility. I think it’s been a great experience for early adopters as they recognized how good the technology is and how much better it’s going to get but there’s still a long way to go. We're definitely witnessing the preparation for the massive upswing that we’re going to see in EV growth. So, for example, huge efforts are being made by the auto manufacturers to get their dealerships up and ready to support the sales of these vehicles by adding infrastructure over the next year and a half.”

“I think as a society we need to agree upon how we're going to pay for the infrastructure that's needed. As this varies state to state, that’s where it's a little difficult for the United States. One of the things that's controversial right now is how do you replace the fuel tax that is subsidising the cost of the roads. So, these are the things that need to be thought out in order to make sure that we can maintain and operate the infrastructure successfully.”

The role of the ABB New York City E-Prix

A crucial element of driving progress in e-mobility forwards is to change people’s misconceptions. This is where high-profile projects and events that push the boundaries of technology, such as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, can play an important role.
“ABB Formula E really ignites passion amongst people, especially in our industry. It's a great event to promote the electrification of mobility and what can actually be done. Because let's face it, that's what it is, right? We're showing to what extreme you can get with seemingly unconventional technology.”

This weekend the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship returns to New York City for the fourth time to compete on the tough concrete of the Red Hook in Brooklyn. This race will be the first time ABB has naming rights of an E-Prix, strengthening its longstanding commitment to the all-electric series.

Catch up on the latest developments in technology and sustainability with more episodes of the ABB Decoded podcast