Iceland is becoming Europe’s greenest country, not so much for its meadows but geothermal activity rather that provides them with an endless supply of renewable energy. Add to this hydropower and you have a mix that can power their subsidised electric cars cleanly.
So it is of little surprise that ABB has taken to the far north to install a network of fast charging stations that allow the company to test their equipment in harshest weather conditions.
Iceland’s path to become a green economy is fairly recent and built on an earlier recognition that the small country was too dependent on imports of fossil fuels. Today, 80 percent of Iceland’s energy comes from its own non-fossil resources, led by said hydropower and geothermal energy.
Says Jón Björn Skúlason, Head of Icelandic New Energy, a company that coordinates national initiatives among government, industry and research institutions: “Being able to provide our own energy is very important to our independence.”
While fossil fuels still account for 20 percent of overall energy usage, the government in Reykjavik is looking to further increase their independence. The Icelandic state is financing an incentive programme for electric vehicles. With success – there are more than 6,000 electric cars on the road in the country, compared to 90 in 2014.
Now to charge these electric cars more than 20 ABB fast charging stations have been installed along Iceland’s famous Route 1 that circumvents the island and runs over 1,300 kilometres.
There, the chargers are exposed to the most extreme weather conditions, including temperatures that drop as low as -30C. “The chargers are exposed to incredibly harsh weather conditions with lots of salt, sea fog, low temperatures, moisture and storms,” explains Bjarni Már Júlíusson, CEO of ON Power, the utility that operates the network of ABB chargers situated along Route 1.
Cloud-based technology connects the chargers to the Microsoft Azure cloud-based platform. This means that technicians diagnose over 90 percent of all errors and solve over 60 percent of them remotely. In order to increase visibility even in adverse weather, the ABB fast chargers in Iceland are bright orange.