Originally published on CleanTechnica
A network of 20 of ABB’s high-speed 50kW DC fast chargers for electric vehicles has been installed across Iceland as the island nation looks to electric vehicles to cut petrol imports and reduce emissions.
The 20 ABB fast chargers were installed around the island by the local electric utility, Orka Natturunnar. The network in Iceland is very exciting because the electricity they push out is already 100% renewable, which means another big step toward zero-emissions life in the country.
Iceland is a nation of fire and ice, with extreme weather and extreme natural beauty in every direction. It is this natural beauty and the drastic intersections between fire and ice that have allowed the local utility to tap into the fire just under the crust for geothermal power generation. This natural energy source is the big driver that has allowed Iceland to source 80% of its power from renewable energy sources — hydroelectric as well as geothermal power. That renewable energy leadership up till now provides a lucrative opportunity for the island nation to fully decarbonize its transportation with its existing resources.
“Being able to provide our own energy is very important to our independence,” said Jón Björn Skúlason, Head of Icelandic New Energy, a company that coordinates national initiatives among government, industry, and research institutions.
The new charging network was installed in support of a nationwide push to ramp up electric vehicle adoption that continues to find traction. In 2014, there were only 90 electric vehicles in Iceland compared to more than 6,000 plug-in vehicles in the country of just over 330,00 residents today.
In addition to just adding DC fast charging infrastructure to such remote areas, Iceland is home to some of the most extreme weather on the planet, with temperatures that can get as low as -30°C (-22°F). Bjarni Már Júlíusson, CEO of the utility managing the charging network, ON Power, put the weather in perspective, “The chargers are exposed to incredibly harsh weather conditions with lots of salt, sea fog, low temperatures, moisture and storms.”
The new network of chargers were wrapped in orange, which is ON Power’s company color, to give drivers an easier time of locating the stations, no matter the weather. That’s a good approach in our eyes and is one of the key EV charging station design guidelines we include in our new report on the subject. It’s simple, but highly useful for EV drivers. The eye-catching color is also a helpful way to raise awareness about electric transport, encourage people to feel comfortable that there’s a network of charging infrastructure to support them if they decide to jump onto the electric bandwagon, and simply stimulate thought about the idea.
The video below puts the weather conditions in perspective and shows off the natural beauty of Iceland. What better way to see such a beautiful country than in a silent electric vehicle.