E-mobility, driving the Italian economy


The emphasis on e-mobility could help the Italian economy to begin running smoothly once again, according to a study coordinated by the Enel Foundation, the European Climate Foundation and Transport&Enviroment, presented on 27 September at the Palazzo della Regione Lombardia in Milan. The study is entitled “Fuelling Italy’s Future: how the transition towards low-carbon mobility strengthens the economy.”

The figures presented at the second national conference on e-mobility, “e mob 2018 Charging time," paint a very clear picture – a shift from a transport system based on importing petrol and diesel fuel to mobility powered by renewable energy produced in Italy could lead to the creation of 19,225 new jobs and an increase of over 2.4 billion euros in GDP by 2030. The forecast for 2050 predicts as many as 50,000 new jobs. These estimates depend on the average number of people employed in the electricity and hydrogen sectors compared to the oil and diesel industry – today it is five times greater than the 3.5 jobs created for every million euros added (data for 2017). 

The technical analysis is the work of a team led by the Cambridge Econometrics consultancy company, Element Energy and the CERTeT research institute of the Bocconi University in Milan. As well as minimising Italy’s exposure to oil price volatility, the transition to e-mobility boosts the Italian renewables market, especially solar and wind energy, with a corresponding strengthening of Italy’s strategic security. Many will benefit as this transformation will have a positive impact on economic growth and consumption, as well as on health and investment in networks and charging infrastructure. 

According to estimates, a cut in the current level of Italy’s petrol imports (15.9 million tonnes of refined product in 2017) could lead to overall savings by 2030 of 21 billion euros. By 2050 this figure would rise to 377 billion, with the potential to support a recovery in Italy’s balance of trade. By developing small, efficient vehicles for urban use Italian manufacturers could also regain their place at the cutting edge of car design in Europe, restoring the industry’s competitiveness. The greater purchase costs in the transition stage are offset by lower maintenance costs, resulting in estimated annual savings of 917 euros by 2030, the year when the total ownership costs for a small electric car are predicted to fall below those of a conventional car with an internal combustion engine. 

In the context of air pollution, the study claims that NOx and PM emissions will fall by 50% and 63% respectively compared to 2017 levels, approaching zero in 2050 and resulting in 2,000 fewer lung cancer cases and 12,600 fewer cases of chronic bronchitis. This analysis of the health data by the CERTeT is one of the main revelations in Fuelling Italy’s Future. However, 3 billion euros will have to be invested in charging infrastructure for electric vehicles by 2030 to support the transition. The political decision-makers must also play their part in achieving these results. Initiatives targeting the energy sector must be complemented by plans to train and re-skill personnel in the car industry.

With Enel, e-mobility is already sustainable.