The future for mobility will be driven by disruption

I was delighted to take to the stage at last week’s ACW Houston to discuss one of the hottest topics in electrification; the future of mobility.

Joined by futurist and thought leader Tony Seba and Electrify America President and CEO, Giovanni Palazzo we explored some of the biggest trends disrupting the mobility industry including the rise of autonomous vehicles and the accelerating adoption of EVs.

Sitting from left to right: Greg Scheu, President of ABB Americas, Tony Seba, Futurist and Thought Leader, Tarak Mehta, President of ABB Electrification, Giovanni Palazzo, President and CEO of Electrify America

Only days ago we saw the launch of the world’s first 12-meter autonomous, fully electric passenger bus, marking a key step in the evolution of public transportation with the convergence of these two pioneering technologies.

As market leader in EV charging solutions we were proud to collaborate on this trailblazing project and hope this will lead to the greater electrification of public transport solutions across the region, where traffic emissions have been identified as a major concern in fast-developing cities.

Supporting this vision for a sustainable, emission free future we must also look at breaking down the barriers for the more widespread adoption of electric passenger vehicles.

Firstly, that means continued investment, both in the development of electric battery technology, enabling greater range and cost efficiencies and in the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, something which we are proud to be supporting key customers such as Electrify America on achieving.

Secondly, we must focus on standardization and interoperability. The automotive industry only needs to look at the electric public transport sector to see that adoption rates are significantly bolstered as the number of competing charging standards decrease. Now is the time to replicate this for passenger vehicles, and as an organization which has been driving the development of common charging standards for the last decade, we will continue to work closely with stakeholders to facilitate this change.

Aligned with these disruptions to battery technology and infrastructure roll out we must also recognize a third and equally impactful resulting disruption; the disruption to the energy ecosystem. The integration of renewable energy sources such as solar, the installation of smarter home technologies linked to private EV charging units and the adoption of electric vehicles with expanded battery capacities could in the future turn homes around the world into self-sufficient grids.

Car batteries could be used to not only store energy but that energy could then be sold back to the grid, enabling residential and commercial customers and communities to become active participants in the energy revolution.

So then, what does the future of mobility look like? From ABB’s perspective while there are undoubted challenges ahead of us, the path to electric and autonomous appears clear and as a company committed to safe, smart and sustainable electrification, we are very excited about the role which we can play in enabling this progression.

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About the author

Tarak Mehta

Tarak Mehta is the President of the Electrification business and has been a member of ABB’s Group Executive Committee since 2010. He took up his present role in January 2016. The Electrification business delivers safe, smart and sustainable electrification to customers through a market leading portfolio of products, solutions, and services. Tarak Mehta was President of the low voltage division from October 2010 to the end of 2015. Prior to that he held a number of senior management roles including head of ABB’s Transformers business from 2007 to 2010, Product Group Manager, Breakers and Switches in high voltage from 2004 to 2006, and numerous other management positions working in the U.S., Sweden and Switzerland. Before joining ABB in 1998, he worked for nine years at Cooper Power Systems in the U.S. from 1989 to 1997. Tarak has a degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University obtained in 1989 and an MBA in finance and marketing from the University of Chicago, earned in 2000.
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