* ABB to supply fast chargers to the Netherlands
* Second nationwide network after Estonia
ZURICH, July 8 (Reuters) - The Netherlands will become the most populous country so far to have a nationwide network of stations for charging electric vehicles after Dutch infrastructure group Fastned on Monday picked Swiss engineer ABB to supply the equipment.
The move is a boost to a technology championed by environmentalists but shunned by most drivers, in part because of so-called “range anxiety” - the fear an electric vehicle might run out of power miles from a charger.
ABB said it would supply more than 200 electric vehicle stations with chargers, bringing all of the Netherlands’ 16.7 million inhabitants within 50 kilometres of a charger.
“This sets an extremely positive signal for consumers and car makers alike to move forward with electric mobility,” Hans Streng, head of ABB’s EV charging infrastructure business, told Reuters.
ABB will start delivering the chargers, which are capable of recharging a battery in 15-30 minutes, in September. Construction of the Fastned stations is expected to be completed by 2015.
This is the second contract ABB has won to supply a nationwide network of chargers after installing 165 chargers in Estonia earlier this year.
The Zurich-based firm is banking on pressure to reduce pollution and curtail dependency on oil to drive an electrification of the transport network.
Consultancy Navigant Research expects worldwide sales of plug-in electric vehicles to reach 3 million a year by 2020, although that would still be a small proportion of all vehicles sold. (Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Mark Potter)