ABB has marked the start of construction at its new facility in San Giovanni Valdarno, Italy, which will serve as a global production site for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The 16,000 square metre facility is expected to be operational by the end of 2021.

This investment follows a $10m spend on a new, fully sustainable, global e-mobility headquarters and research and development (R&D) centre built on the TU Delft Campus, Heertjeslaan, Netherlands which is set to launch officially later this year.

The new plant will produce ABB’s entire range of direct current (DC) electric vehicle battery chargers, from domestic systems to systems for installation in public areas and those dedicated to urban public transport. It will also help to further support ABB growth and innovation in the e-mobility sector.

Giampiero Frisio, head of the smart power division said: “Today represents a significant milestone in our e-mobility business. We have been driving progress in the sector for more than a decade and this new state of the art facility will contribute significantly to further advancing the global move towards zero emission electric mobility.”

The new facility will have integration of ABB Ability digital products which will allow complete visibility and optimisation of the production of every individual product and interconnect automated warehouse management systems with factory departments. Automated equipment for the assembly of printed circuit boards and monitoring and testing systems will be connected to the factory information system.

R&D activities will take place in a dedicated 3,200 square metre space for development and prototyping. They will focus on the implementation of new software and product life cycle management tools to fully integrate R&D activities with manufacturing activities, both internally and with external electronic manufacturing services.

Meanwhile, the integration of renewable energy sources such as solar panels on the roof, an optimised heating and cooling system and the introduction of an electric fleet of vehicles for employees, logistics, sales and service teams will help to reduce the environmental impact of the facility.

Since entering the EV-charging market a decade ago, ABB has sold 14,000 DC fast chargers in 80 countries.