The Italy of e-mobility

Published on Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The question is not "if" but "when". When the day comes that the electric car will revolutionise world mobility, will Italy be ready?

One possible answer is provided in the White Paper on the electric car, written by Start Magazine in collaboration with Cei Cives, presented on July 11th at the Library of the Italian Lower Chamber of Parliament. Much more than a snapshot of the state of e-mobility in Italy, it was an opportunity for a comparison with the best European countries that are the benchmark for reaching the highest standards.

According to the White Paper, countries such as Norway, France and Germany, capable of producing both fiscal and traffic management measures to encourage the choice of electric cars, should be our model. In particular, Norway, a country of 5.2 million inhabitants where battery-driven cars have reached the 120,000 mark. These results have led the government to ban registrations of petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles from 2025.

Another interesting case is the Netherlands, a country that does not manufacture cars has driven the sales of electric cars to 5% of the internal market through incentives: today, 100,000 zero emission cars are circulating in Holland versus the 8750 in Italy.

But there is more. Looking beyond Europe, as the economist Andrea Giuricin did, Asia, too, where one out of every two cars is green, is moving rapidly in this direction. In India, only electric cars will be sold from 2030. And already today, in large cities, like Beijing and Shanghai, only clean energy scooters can circulate.

“Electric mobility is a speeding train that Italy cannot afford to lose from a technological point of view,” explained Massimo Bruno, Head of Institutional Affairs at Enel Italy, a Group that has put electric mobility at the center of its strategy. “We have announced a national plan for charging infrastructure and we have asked the ANCI (National Association of Italian Municipalities) for a joint round table because every city and town today is taking action separately when it comes to authorisations and permits: a common vision is needed instead."

The Italian government is trying to shape this vision with the Technical Round Table on sustainable mobility, chaired by Raffaele Tiscar, Head of Cabinet of the Ministry of the Environment, who presented a road map at the end of June. “Not a policy instrument, but a preliminary effort, a platform for shared knowledge. Demand will drive the revolution and supply will follow," said Tiscar.

European legislation requires that by 2021 the average emissions of circulating cars amount to 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer: an objective that requires that a share of approximately 10 percent of the population travel by zero emission, electric or hybrid cars. According to the White Paper, if you started today to pursue these goals, by 2021 at least 300,000 zero emission cars will be circulating in Italy and they will replace vehicles that run on conventional fuels. The economic savings are estimated to amount to €1.8 billion in ten years: 69% as savings on the import of crude oil and gas, 14% as less health costs due to pollution, and 17% as the monetary value of the CO2 emissions avoided that are the subject of international trading.

What makes us hope that Italy can achieve these goals? By 2021, 30 different car models manufactured in Europe will be available and the price of e-cars will tend to align with that of vehicles running on petrol or diesel. According to a study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, from 2026 even cars that run on electric batteries will be cheaper than conventional vehicles. Finally, the cost of batteries, which today account for almost half of the cost of e-cars, will fall by about 77 percent by 2030.

There are good chances that even the electric car will become a mass phenomenon in Italy, too.

This is an increasingly shared effort in order to be ready to address the long-awaited green mobility breakthrough at a technological and cultural level.

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