ABB has opened its E-mobility Innovation Lab in Delft. The 10 million dollar, 3,600 m2 facility, which was announced in 2018 (link in Dutch), will drive the Swedish-Swiss multinational’s future portfolio development, as well as global R&D projects for electric vehicles. Located on the Delft University of Technology campus, it will house up to 120 specialists working on next-generation solutions.
The lab marks the return of ABB’s EV charging business to the home of its conception. In 2005, students from TU Delft essentially founded that business as Epyon. After four years of consultancy and prototyping, they shifted gears to product development, resulting in a fast charger that can fill up an EV battery in 15-30 minutes instead of 6-8 hours. ABB acquired the flourishing company in 2011 (link in Dutch), integrating it as its product group EV Charging Infrastructure. The business kept growing: to date, more than 17,000 fast chargers have been sold across 80 countries, servicing not only cars but also buses and trucks.
The new E-mobility Innovation Lab has been fitted with the latest technology to ensure that ABB’s chargers are compatible with all types of vehicle. Simulators have been built exactly for this purpose, with 95 percent of all tests to be conducted with digital copies. To test how vehicles perform in very hot or cold weather, special environmental testing rooms subject solutions to extreme conditions, including temperatures from -40 to +100 degrees Celsius and high humidity. The atrium is large enough for manufacturers to drive their cars, buses or trucks into the warm and controlled environment to conduct testing, which will help advance charging for the rapidly growing electric-heavy vehicle segment.
The facility was designed to have minimal environmental impact. For heating and cooling, it will be connected to the TU Delft geothermal heating/cooling plant. The roof will house solar panels, with solar inverters to convert DC harvested from the sun into AC, which together with ABB’s advanced building management system for climate and light control and battery storage system, will allow testing energy to be fed back into the grid.
“Within ABB Electrification, we invest approximately 400 million dollars per annum into R&D to ensure we remain at the forefront of technological leadership in sustainable mobility. As part of this investment, we’re focused on pushing the boundaries, predominantly in the areas of charging, storage and digitalization. Our new E-mobility Innovation Lab will allow us to strengthen our collaboration with EV manufacturers to drive further performance and progress across the sector,” comments Frank Muehlon, head of ABB’s global business for e-mobility infrastructure solutions. “We wanted to locate the lab in Delft, in the heart of the university campus, where we are surrounded by the brightest tech talents and startups in the Netherlands.”