First there is the mindset to correct and convince the masses of the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs), then there is the issue of infrastructure of not having enough chargers around. The latter is a chicken-egg story really – demand needed for EVs before investment in infrastructure; yet with no infrastructure supportive enough the demand for EVs will not rise either.
Nonetheless, ABB, leading power and automation technology group, brought in one of the first fast chargers for EVs to Singapore. Their fast charging technology enables EVs to be charged in as little as 15 minutes, providing an efficient solution for electric vehicle charging.
When I test drove the Leaf and the Fluence ZE, I had to bring both back to the showroom to charge overnight as I didn’t have the charging port at home. The Leaf takes about eight hours for a full charge, but there is a quick 30-minute charge which can get the battery up to 80 per cent. It is not recommended to do quick charge more than once a day though. Similarly, the Fluence ZE takes six to eight hours for a full charge.
Thus, fast charging is useful as it minimises the charging time for an EV.
“We believe that Singapore has the ideal eco-system for electric vehicles due to its compact size and modern infrastructure, as well as its aspirations to be one of the world’s leading future cities. Electric vehicles reduce noise pollution and have zero emissions, and so contribute to a more sustainable and energy efficient city,” said Haider Rashid, head of ABB in Singapore.
“Fast-charging integrates well with our urban lifestyle by providing greater mobility and convenience, as EV drivers can charge their vehicles across the city at shopping malls, offices and other public places. Adding more fast chargers to the electric vehicle infrastructure in Singapore will also accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles,” he added.
ABB is a pioneer in intelligent charging solutions and has been involved in installations in over 30 countries, most notably in Estonia, the world’s largest ever EV infrastructure installation, where over 700 chargers have been installed in 2012 alone.
Fast charging is based on DC supply, commonly used to charge products such as computers, mobile phones and smart devices. Such chargers can deliver approximately 80 per cent capacity charge to electric vehicles, such as the Leaf, in about 15 minutes, enabling cars to travel over 100 kilometres. Comparatively, a slower charger takes approximately six hours. Furthermore, ABB fast chargers are slimmer and take up less space – an important consideration for land scarcity.
ABB EV chargers are future-ready with a full range of connectivity features, including remote assistance, facility management, servicing, smart software upgradeability, and can be connected to any smart electricity distribution system or smart grid of the future.
At the moment, the three fast-chargers in Singapore are located at the Motor Image showroom in Toa Payoh; the School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Block S2 of Nanyang Technological University, and at ABB Singapore headquarters in Ayer Rajah Crescent.
ABB has also added two EVs to its fleet of service vehicles, which cover thousands of kilometres a year, as part of the test-bed currently run by EMA and LTA in Singapore.
I had the opportunity to witness the fast charging of the Leaf at the ABB Singapore headquarters and I was pretty amazed at how quickly the battery life renewed. This could be a really good solution for a potential EV network in Singapore – for these fast chargers to be placed in offices, HDB blocks, shopping malls and other public places so EV owners can conveniently travel around without worrying about running out of battery.
That is the biggest concern that people have of an EV – what if I run out of battery suddenly and have nowhere to charge it? This fast charger from ABB would be a great answer to that question, especially if incorporated adequately in a network supported by the authorities.