ABB Enters U.S. Market for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

Jan. 10, 2011
Invests $10 million for stake in ECOtality to supply technology for charging stations

ABB, a provider of power and automation technology, has invested $10 million in San Francisco-based ECOtality, a clean electric transportation and storage technologies company.

ECOtality will use the investment to foster its expansion and finance initial requirements of the EV Project, a program to develop electric vehicle infrastructures in 16 major U.S. cities funded by a $115 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The project involves installation of more than 15,000 chargers to support the deployment of 8,300 electric vehicles.

In addition, the companies will work together to develop charging technologies for electric vehicles that incorporate the advanced consumer interface and billing functionalities of ECOtality's Blink EV charging stations.

"The partnership brings together ABB's experience in smart grids, renewable energy and reliable, efficient power networks, with ECOtality's leadership in North Americas growing market for electric vehicle infrastructure," said Brice Koch, head of ABB Marketing and Customer Solutions. "It is an ideal combination of skills that will provide the solutions customers are seeking to enable sustainable mobility while maintaining grid reliability."

ECOtality, Inc. has a full range of systems for charging electric vehicles parked at the home or office, or during short stops to "top off" while on longer journeys. ECOtality expects to have the largest installed base of charging stations in the United States in two years through the DOE-funded EV Project, and plans to work with utilities and municipalities to create plug-in ready regions through its proprietary EV Micro-Climate process. The company currently employs about 100 people.

The investment was made through ABB Technology Ventures. The company also invested in Trilliant's end-to-end system for smart grid communications, and a research and development project with General Motors to investigate energy storage uses for electric vehicle batteries once their useful life in the vehicle is over.

ABB's smart grid portfolio was strengthened last year with its acquisition of Ventyx, a leading software provider to global energy, utility, communications, and other asset-intensive businesses.

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