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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Tarak Mehta

Tarak Mehta joined ABB 20 years ago. He was appointed President of ABB’s Electrification Products division in January 2016 and has been committed to delivering transformational change across the business, making Electrification Products the partner of choice for a smarter, safer electrical flow from substation to socket. He continues to drive ABB’s pioneering technology leadership across the division, with a focus on creating intelligent and connected solutions which support customer growth in this energy and 4th industrial revolution. Mr Mehta has been a member of the Executive Committee since October 2010 and from October 2010 through December 2015, he was President of the Low Voltage Products division, during which he oversaw the strategic growth of the low voltage business. From 2007 to 2010, he was head of ABB's transformers business, prior to which he held various management positions in the Power Products division in the US, Sweden and Switzerland.
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