e-Mobility Revolution 2018, Italy’s electricity challenge

Published on Tuesday, 25 September 2018

“World energy consumption is shifting towards electricity. This is happening because technology is having a powerful effect on the electricity carrier. Moreover, renewables mean that electricity is gradually decarbonising all sectors”

– Francesco Starace, CEO of Enel

Digitalisation is making electrical energy use smarter and more efficient, promoting the demand for electricity at a global level and encouraging its use in new areas like transport. 

“Our ambition is to become a significant e-car charging infrastructure operator and an important partner in public e-mobility”

– Francesco Starace, CEO of Enel

E-mobility is just one of the methods enabling this transition, Starace concluded. Our company’s task is to try and make this change attractive, because if the speed that cars, including e-cars, can offer means passion, thrills and fun, then the charging infrastructure and the technologies they involve can exert widespread appeal and generate value.

And yet it moves! Electricity becomes cool

There are 10 facts that illustrate the worldwide trend of e-mobility and five factors to work on that will enable Italy to become a player in this transition, which involves industry as well as energy. The scenario was outlined on the stage of the Vallelunga Congress Centre by Francesco Venturini, CEO of Enel X, the division of our Group responsible for innovative products and digital solutions. 

“We must operate effectively. We have started from an important, flexible National Plan to enable everyone in Italy to own and operate an e-car, from Val d’Aosta in the north to Sicily in the south. This involves investment of up to 300 million euros to install 14,000 charging stations by 2022”

– Francesco Venturini, CEO of Enel X

The figures and developments Venturini presented included an increase in investment in electricity by the car industry – in Italy, too – to a total of 250 billion dollars over the next few years, lower prices and a wider offer of models and modes of transport, extending to motorbikes and buses, as well as a government emphasis on zero-emission mobility, which has also emerged in Italy. It is also worth noting that street-based mobility is no longer the only focus – maritime and aeronautical mobility are likewise gaining in importance in this context. There is also an increase in demand for electrification from the public transport sector, from China to South America (where Enel X recently won the tender competition for the complete provision of infrastructure and buses to the city of Santiago, Chile).

When we narrow the focus to Italy alone, the number of e-vehicle registrations gives an idea of the speed of transition – in the first eight months of 2018 this figure rose by 110%, reflecting a worldwide trend that in the past year has seen a global increase of one million in the number of new e-vehicles on the road, reaching a total of four million.

In overall terms the number of e-vehicles on the road is still small, but the trend is showing healthy growth. 

“The first piece of good news is that sales of e-cars in Italy have doubled, and the second is that e-mobility is becoming cool, and people are no longer talking about technological neutrality. There’s an opportunity for the country to generate a great deal of value”

– Francesco Venturini, CEO of Enel X

Enel X is implementing the Infrastructure Plan it launched last November. At the moment there are around 1,600 charging stations with Enel technology in Italy and agreements for around 4,300 charging infrastructure elements have been signed with companies, business and local governments, which translates into 60-80 installations per week over the next few months. All this will mean that there will be 2,500 charging stations in Italy by the end of the year.

In this context the electrification of mobility and transport can stimulate growth in Italy – 37 companies are currently working with Enel X to implement the Plan, with the involvement of around 1,000 people

The CEO of Enel X went on to say that “We are one of the few countries in the world where Vehicle to Grid integration is possible, which means using e-vehicles to serve the electricity grid.” This is very interesting for companies operating e-car fleets, and they will soon be able to enter the demand response market.

As with all challenges, this has involved many difficulties, but we need to identify the problems that need solving if the move towards e-mobility is to become an industrial transition in Italy, too.

Energy: juice in the form of “Intelligent Charging Solutions”

From track to road, in the finest motor industry tradition. During the second e-Mobility Revolution in Vallelunga, Enel X presented a new range of products developed on the basis of client requirements and using innovative technology. This was thanks to the Group’s ten-year expertise and the experience it has built up in recent years during its collaborations with the e-motor-racing world. This is a reference to Formula E, the world championship for electrically-powered single seat cars, where next year we will be the official charging infrastructure supplier, and MotoE, the first electric motorbike trophy, which will be launched next year alongside some of the MotoGP races. 

There were four products in the “Intelligent Charging Solutions” line which were presented at Vallelunga by Alberto Piglia, Head of e-Mobility for Enel X, and they will all soon be available to consumers. These flexible, modular solutions upgrade the “Juice family” recharging infrastructure range. The first is the JuiceBox, an infrastructure element that can be installed on domestic premises. It is compact and intuitive, as well as connected so that it can provide real-time monitoring of the car’s charging status via smartphone. Next is the JuicePole, the new public charging station. Versatile and personalisable, it replaces the pole station, which marked the first phase of street-based infrastructure in 2007. Business clients can take advantage of the JuiceStation, a combination of several interconnected JuiceBoxes and JuicePoles. It is the ideal solution for corporate fleet charging requirements. Finally, the JuicePump high-velocity charger (up to 43 kW AC and over 50 kW DC) will meet the needs of long-distance mobility. It is designed for extra-urban stretches of road and roads subject to heavy traffic flows.

Clients can use all these solutions through the Enel X Recharge App or the special card.

The latest member of the Juice family, specially designed for local administrations, is the JuiceLamp, which integrates public lighting and charging infrastructure. This “smart LED street lamp” enables street lighting consumption to be managed remotely and efficiently, allowing two e-vehicles to charge at the same time. The JuiceLamp can also be integrated into video-surveillance and air quality monitoring systems, as well as offering fibre or urban WiFi connectivity. 

Innovation, sustainability and value for Italy

Our Group’s aim, through the National e-mobility Plan and the innovative solutions developed by Enel X, is to promote the opportunities for growth and sustainable development that e-mobility provides. This can be done by working together with all operators in the sector and the various players involved, starting with public administrations. We are fully aware of the fact that it is only by combining our strengths that we can improve quality of life for people and the cities in which we live, thereby generating new value. 

Since the 1950s the history of the various sectors of the transport industry – cars, fuel, railway companies – has been closely linked to Italy’s social and economic development. Now history could be repeating itself, but such repetitions never take exactly the same form and the transition to e-mobility and energy consumption in general now presents a wonderful opportunity to embark on a process of genuinely sustainable economic development with reduced emissions.

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