Chargers for electric cars may become a "billion dollar business" by 2017, said an executive at Swiss engineering firm ABB, which is teaming up with governments and companies such as RWE to roll out a network.
Building up a network of charging stations is vital to help fuel demand for electric cars, experts say, with some drivers put off by "range anxiety" -- the fear their vehicle will run out of power miles from a charger.
The Zurich-based group, which makes equipment for oil, mining and utility companies, has announced a string of projects in recent months, including a 6 million euro deal to build 200 fast-charging stations throughout Estonia.
"In about five-years' time the infrastructure side of the business will be a billion dollar business," Hans Streng, head of electrical vehicle charging infrastructure at ABB, told Reuters in an interview. The current global market is worth about $50-$100 million he said.
Pressure to cut emissions and reduce pollution in cities has led to ambitious targets for electric vehicle take-up, with some governments targeting as much as a 60 percent market share for electric vehicles over the next 20-30 years.
Consultancy Pike Research forecasts cumulative sales of plug-in electric vehicles to reach 5.2 million worldwide by 2017, up from just shy of 114,000 vehicles in 2011.