Austria starts rolling out fast chargers for electric cars

Austria has plugged in its first three direct-current (DC), fast-charging stations for electric cars.

Part of a planned network aimed at supporting  plug-in vehicles, the charging stations can power up an electric-vehicle (EV) battery in as little as 15 to 30 minutes. Charging an electric car using a standard alternating-current (AC) power outlet, by contrast, typically takes around eight hours.

Power and automation technology company ABB is deploying the fast-charging stations to support Austrian utility illwerke vkw’s VLOTTE electric-car project.

Launched in 2009, VLOTTE has so far added nearly 300 EVs to Austria’s roads.

The new fast-charging stations include one at the main offices of Vorarlberger Kraftwerke AG (VKW), a unit of illwerke vkw. Another is located at the site of the Austrian Automobile Association while a third is in Schruns-Rodund in the Montafon Valley. The stations can be remotely managed, maintained and updated with new software through ABB’s Network Operations Center.

“Utilities like VKW recognize that connectivity is the key to success in this rapidly developing business, as it will dramatically increase the efficiency of their charging operations,” said Hans Streng, senior vice president and general Mmanager of ABB’s product group for EV charging infrastructure.

“One of our main goals is to learn about electric mobility,” added Christof Germann, a member of the management board of illwerke vkw. He said ABB’s remote management system and online tools will help the utility gain a “detailed understanding of usage patterns, energy consumption and other charging-related matters, which will assist us in making the right decisions for the future.”

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