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The world's first nationwide EV charging network

Posting in Energy

Estonia has officially launched its nationwide electric car charging network, which it's calling the "world's first."

Of course, the tiny Baltic country is only about the size of West Virginia and has less than 1.3 million people, but it's still an impressive feat. The government has installed 165 fast-charging EV stations throughout the entire country. ABB, a power and automation technology group, was contracted to provide the infrastructure. ABB’s Terra 51 direct current fast chargers can charge cars in less than 30 minutes.

The chargers are strategically placed throughout the country in urban areas with at least 5,000 people and along major roads where no charging stations are more than 60 kilometers (about 37 miles) apart. According to ABB, the network is the "highest concentration of DC chargers in Europe."

“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,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, head of ABB’s discrete automation and motion division, in a statement.

Currently, Estonia only has an estimated 650 electric cars on the road, with about 500 issued to government workers, The Guardian reports. Still, the Estonian government is betting that investing in EV infrastructure will encourage more people to purchase electric cars.

“The fact that recharging is so easy is one of the main reasons more and more Estonians will decide in favor of electric cars in future,” said Estonia’s Minister of the Environment, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, in a statement. Estonia will help us find out if that thinking will really drive consumers to electric cars.

Photo: ABB

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— By on February 20, 2013, 4:55 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure