ABB Sees Estonia Electric-Car Network Deal Spurring Investments

ABB Ltd., the largest maker of power transformers, started the world’s first nationwide network of electric-car charging systems in Estonia today, saying that other countries may follow the eastern European country’s move.

The network is backed by the Estonian government subsidizing as much as 50 percent of the price of electric cars, Zurich-based ABB said in a statement today.

“Having a nationwide fast-charging network will encourage motorists to switch to electric vehicles and it will motivate other countries to invest in their own charging infrastructure,” Ulrich Spiesshofer, head of ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division, said in the statement.

ABB competes with Eaton Corp. and Schneider Electric SA to lay charging infrastructure ahead of a predicted boom in electric car sales. Purchases of Nissan Motor Co.’s Leaf or gas-hybrids such as Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius have been boosted by rising gas prices and government subsidies.

Sales of electric-vehicle charging equipment in Europe will grow from 72 million euros ($96 million) in 2012 to more than 1 billion euros by 2020, Pike Research said in a report July 9.

ABB said its Estonian network of 165 direct current fast chargers can charge a vehicle in 15 to 30 minutes.