ABB has received a follow-up order from charging network provider Ionity for an additional 324 HPC charging stations. The columns with the new Ionity design will be installed in 24 countries during the second phase of the Ionity grid expansion by the end of 2020.
ABB was already contracted by Ionity in 2018 to supply 340 HPC chargers, which were ordered while still in the ABB Terra Columns design during the first phase of the Ionity expansion. Ionity is the fast-charging joint venture from BMW, Daimler, Ford, Audi, Porsche and (after approval by competition authorities) Hyundai-Kia. At the IAA, Ionity presented the columns in their own design and the Australian company Tritium was the first manufacturer to produce them. In order to maintain the multi-supplier principle, Ionity already said at that time that they would also continue to purchase columns from ABB.
The new design is the result of a user analysis by Designworks and should make the charging experience more comfortable, safer and easier than before. One of the most striking features is the lighting concept, with which Ionity is pursuing two goals: The charging stations should be visible from a distance, making it easier to find the charging parking spaces at a highway service area. In addition, the LED light ring on the 2.60-meter-high column is intended to illuminate the area around the column so that charging in the dark is a more pleasant experience. The light ring, called the ‘Halo’, also indicates the vehicle’s charging status via different colours.
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The cable routing on the columns has also been changed. The charging cable is now supposed to be much easier to handle thanks to longer cables with integrated retraction making it easier to reach the charging port on all car models and allowing cables to be kept off the ground. Charging should also be easier for the customer thanks to a new screen. With its own HMI system, the menu navigation should be more intuitive and – above all – uniform: the customer should no longer notice which manufacturer built the column. In other words, features such as cable routing, the menu or the housing design should in future be Ionity-specific and not differ between the Tritium and ABB columns – as has been the case up to now. At a few locations, Ionity also uses columns from Porsche Engineering. It is not yet clear whether Porsche will also offer columns in the Ionity design in future.
According to ABB, the new columns are the slimmest charging columns to date. Ionity managing director Michael Hajesch praises the “very small footprint for the dispenser unit” in the corresponding press release. Frank Muehlon, head of ABB’s global business for E-Mobility Infrastructure Solutions, added that “due to the size of the rollout, dedicated solutions can be developed together”.
The 324 HPC chargers that have now been ordered will have charging capacities of up to 350 kW, just like the previous units. However, ABB has not disclosed the financial details of the large order.
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