Mobility is entering a new, more sustainable, more efficient era. The maturity of energy storage and engine technologies, an ever more widespread uptake of renewable energy sources and smart grids, the objectives created by climate challenges, lead us to believe that electric mobility could be key in the new millennium. Italy is ready for this challenge, thanks to the work of small and large companies in an industry which is already playing a significant role in sector development.
To give a voice to this innovative, visionary and competitive Italy, the study ‘100 Italian e-mobility stories’ was created, promoted by Enel and the Symbola Foundation and presented today in Rome by Enel CEO and General Manager, Francesco Starace, and by the Chairman of Symbola, Ermete Realacci. The report focuses on the Italian electric mobility sector and gathers success stories ranging from the creation and construction of batteries and vehicles, from components to design and from recharging to apps dedicated to traditional services.
Electric mobility intersects with the need to tackle climate change, thanks also to synergies with the increase in power from renewable sources. In Europe, a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions are produced by vehicles, which highlights to what extent electric mobility, along with the development of public transport systems and cycling infrastructure, can reduce pollution.
The uptake of electric cars is growing exponentially: +33% in Europe during the first quarter of 2016, compared to the previous year. It is growing in particular in the United States and in China, which together with Norway and The Netherlands, represent 70% of world sales. E-cars were the main feature of the Paris Motor Show, while the launch of the first partnerships between car manufacturers and energy utility is significant, with Italy at the forefront of the new business model and providing original services for final customers.
With 6,000 vehicles, electric vehicles make up just 0.01% of the number of vehicles in Italy, compared with 25% in Norway and 10% in The Netherlands. Italy is not yet at northern European levels when it comes to charging infrastructure, but that gap can be closed with forward-looking strategies and suitable policies.
As demonstrated by ‘100 Italian e-mobility stories’ Italian companies and research bodies are poised to meet the challenge of new mobility. Electric cars combine innovation from other sectors such as the electric grid, focus on engine efficiency, long battery life, the electric retrofit of traditional cars and recycling of materials.
“Italy is a country with talent, especially when it comes to design and manufacturing, and the electric mobility sector is no exception,” said Francesco Starace, Enel’s CEO and General Manager. “With this collection of stories, we want to celebrate Made in Italy excellence while also boosting the uptake of electric vehicles. Enel – together with some of the biggest vehicle manufacturers – is spearheading the development of integrated offers and services for customers and is leading the way in the creation of widespread charging infrastructure, like the one we are developing on the Italian motorway network. Furthermore, we are the first in the world to have developed Vehicle to Grid technology, which also uses electric vehicles to offer greater efficiency and stability to the distribution network while allowing vehicle owners to generate revenues.”
“Despite known and long-standing problems, such as public debt, wealth inequality and often suffocating bureaucracy Italy is a country in which problems rub shoulders with excellence,” said Chairman of the Symbola Foundation, Ermete Realacci. “It is a nation that knows how to innovate without losing its soul, it looks out at the world with its feet firmly in its own territory and anchored in its communities. It bets on cohesion and quality. Focusing on sustainability and efficiency, in mobility as well as in other sectors, is the path to the future and this vision is in line with the Paris Agreement. It is this talent and this energy that we must harness: encouraging them, promoting them and bringing them forward. Italy will only be able to face the difficulties which lie ahead if the country forges its own future.”
Apart from being linked to the maturity of the technologies involved, the development of new mobility is also linked to a more restrained and sustainable modern lifestyle, as well as to a greater environmental awareness among consumers and institutons and a growing desire for sharing-mobility.
Using electricity, engine efficiency increases. With combustion engines, in a well-to-wheel (W2W) analysis, efficiency is 17-19%, whereas electric engine efficiency is approximately 36%. And with the increase in renewables in national energy production (today approximately 40%) this efficiency can only progress, reducing CO2 emissions and pollution.
Italy is at the cutting edge of the new mobility, with the launch of the first technical and economic research projects jointly developed by the industry and major Italian universities, which aim to pinpoint barriers to development and promote the necessary solutions to help electric mobility take off in Italy, so that the country becomes a driving force in this challenge of the future.