Why firsts matter
It’s not about bragging, it’s about courage, persistence and learning
I have a marketing background, so instinctively I want to brag about my company. It’s actually not all that hard to do as ABB engineers design and build some pretty amazing electrical and software solutions for industrial, utility and infrastructure markets. So when ABB talks about pioneering technology, these are not just marketing “fluff” words.
Firsts are special because they show a willingness to take risks and make investments in something bigger than next quarter’s results. ABB has been a part of a lot of firsts in its 130 year history, covering important electrical innovations such as HVDC, gas-insulated switchgear, variable speed drives, industrial robots, marine propulsion and connected factories. Firsts are deeply etched in our DNA, with an aggressive R&D culture that never lets up on advancing energy technologies.
When ABB acquired the Netherlands-based startup Epyon in 2011, they’d just installed the first DC fast charger in Europe, successfully charging a Nissan Leaf with an impressive (at the time) 50kW of power. Electric transportation was already part of ABB’s mission on rails and ships, so it was natural to add road-based e-mobility under the ABB umbrella. By bringing together a bright startup with scalable R&D, ABB gave wings to many of the first DC fast chargers and country wide networks in countries around the world.
Last month, ABB’s Terra HP charging system opened to the public in Chicopee Massachusetts, a part of Electrify America’s network, the first truly public 350kW charging system in operation in the world. Being the first company to put a 500 Amp cable connector into a consumer’s hand and say “go ahead and plug it in,” is a gigantic step toward greater EV adoption while moving the industry farther ahead.
In a further statement on firsts, earlier this year ABB became the first title sponsor for the fully electric international FIA motorsport series. ABB brings its name and innovation and technology leadership to the series, which is now known as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. ABB and Formula are a ground-breaking partnership to champion e-mobility for a sustainable future, developing advanced electrification solutions.
The ABB FIA Formula E Championship series races gets underway in Zurich, the headquarters town of ABB, on June 10.
So be patient with us marketing types. While sometimes we sound like we are bragging, we’re really just celebrating. So here’s to all of our firsts: embodying the nerve to try, the gumption to innovate and the wisdom to learn from those firsts, all of which make the innovations that follow even better.