Interview with ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer on Electric Vehicles, Solar Inverters, & Solar Airplanes (Exclusive Videos)

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One of my most exciting opportunities during this year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week was the opportunity to interview ABB* CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. I was invited to an ABB–Solar Impulse event and was, as far as I could tell, the only member of the media who was given the opportunity to interview Ulrich. Unfortunately, I didn’t have hours with him (that would have been nice), but I did have a few minutes to ask some of the questions I was most interested in hearing him answer (and with more planning than when I interviewed him in 2014 after ABB won the 2014 Zayed Future Energy Prize in the Large Corporation category).

ABB Solar Inverters — The Selling Points

I started off by asking Ulrich about ABB’s solar inverters. ABB is the #2 producer of solar inverters globally. Eager to get a quick snapshot of what makes ABB’s inverters so competitive, I asked Ulrich to give me his elevator speech on them:

Yes, it comes across as an ad, but that’s the point: these are presumably the big selling points that are bringing ABB so many customers in the solar inverter market.

The Future of Solar Airplanes

Given that it was a Solar Impulse event, I was curious to get Ulrich’s take on solar airplanes. He provides some very interesting answers, imho. Check them out:

Ulrich’s 1st Big “Electric Vehicle Moment”

Third on my list was finding out what Ulrich’s first “solar moment” or “electric vehicle moment” was, when it really hit him that these technologies were the future. He chose to answer regarding EVs:

(Sorry, the music was getting quite loud at the event — I did what I could to amplify his voice and minimize the background sound without warping the sound too much. We’ll be sure to conduct the interview in a quieter place next time.)

Note that: ABB’s director of electric vehicles (“e-mobility,” as it’s called in Europe), Hans Streng, wrote an interesting piece for CleanTechnica last year regarding the falling cost of EV batteries, ABB won the contract to supply the EV fast-chargers for the world’s largest nationwide EV fast-charger network, ABB has developed an ultrafast flash-charging bus, and ABB and BYD aim to jointly become the leading supplier of batteries globally.

Favorite Song

My last question is a fun one that I try to ask all of the cleantech experts I interview. It tends to throw many interviewees off, as they are so much in their business mind when I ask it. However, Ulrich may have gotten a tip of warning from Maxine Ghavi. Here’s his answer:

Related Stories:

ABB’s Solar Focus (7 Exclusive Videos With ABB’s Solar Director)

ABB’s Huge Solar Push — Shifting Solar Into The Next Gear?

*Full disclosure: I own stock in ABB and I occasionally write for ABB Conversations.


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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

Zachary Shahan has 7370 posts and counting. See all posts by Zachary Shahan