From electric cars to e-Mobility Revolution
In twenty years’ time, half of the cars sold in the world will be electric. Electric mobility is one of the greatest transformations taking place and it is driven by technological progress. In this context, Italy, which is one of the few countries in the world to have completely digitalised the electricity distribution network, has a great opportunity.
CEO of Enel X
Charging networks, the turning point for e-mobility
The key to allowing electric mobility to tap its full potential is the creation of capillary charging infrastructures. This is also one of the strategic missions in the various countries where we are already present.
In Italy, at our headquarters, we are working on a National Plan that provides for an investment of between 100 and 300 million euros to install 14,000 charging stations by 2022. These charging stations will have to satisfy different needs: fast and high-power recharging that will allow you to charge in 10-20 minutes will be installed along motorways. In urban areas, so-called quick stations with slower charging times are planned to spread and are ideal for offices and car parks, where e-cars will be parked for longer periods of time. The Plan will be complementary to the implementation phase of EVA+, the European project financed by the European Commission and coordinated by Enel in collaboration with the Austrian utility Verbund and the car manufacturers Nissan, Renault, BMW and Volkswagen.
EVA+ provides for the installation of charging stations along the motorway corridors that cross Italy and Austria. According to the project schedule, in September our company installed the first 30 fast charging stations, which today allow us to travel from Rome to Milan by electric car.
This project will build the first fast charging network for electric vehicles in Italy, laying the foundation for large-scale electric mobility development plans in Italy and for the connection with charging networks under construction in the rest of Europe.
The model proposed by Enel at this stage is a "multi-vendor" open model: this gives all interested energy suppliers the opportunity to sell charging services to customers and the latter to pay for charging in a flexible way, i.e., with an app, a credit card or cash.
The e-car at the service of the grid
The growth of electric mobility is also changing the role of users, transforming them, in some respects, into "distributors.”
As in the case of renewable energies, the spreading of self-generation systems has changed the market configuration, creating "prosumers", i.e., consumers and producers of electricity: the excess energy produced and not consumed is fed into the dispatching network for a fee deducted from the bill.
Similarly, electric cars, which spend much of their time parked, can be used as "batteries on wheels.” So why not use them to balance and stabilise the distribution network, giving back the energy stored in the battery when the car is parked to the grid?
To take advantage of this opportunity, Enel has developed the Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology, in partnership with an American startup and a global automotive player like Nissan: it is a two-way charging system, which in addition to charging an e-car, can transfer the battery energy to the grid, with the possibility of providing a remuneration mechanism for car owners when they are connected to the grid and give back energy.
We have quickly moved from the idea to experimentation in Spain, Denmark, Germany and the UK and in 2016 we launched the first V2G commercial hub in Copenhagen.
In Italy, the first V2G system was installed at the Italian Institute of Technology, waiting to receive the green light for the experimentation of this technology in Italy.
Electric mobility and climate change
Encouraging electric mobility is a business strategy for Enel to make a concrete contribution to achieving one of the 17 UN 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals, which deals with combating climate change and implementing the Paris Agreement (SDG #13).
Fossil fuels used in transport currently account for 23% of global CO2 emissions (Source IEA). These percentages are even higher if we analyse highly urbanised and industrialised countries and areas: in the EU-27, the rate of transport pollution rate accounts for more than 30%, reaching more than 34% in the United States.
According to a recent report titled "Speeding-up European Electro-Mobility," drawn up by the European research agency Transport and Environment, Europe will have to electrify 80% of the current car fleet to reach its 2050 emission reduction target and meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. This means that by 2030, 50% of cars circulating in Europe will have to be electric cars. As underlined by Alberto Piglia, Head of e-Mobility Enel X, “the challenge on the table is to understand how to achieve this goal. And our company is working in this direction." The projects that we are designing for our customers aim to simplify and maximize access to electric mobility, not only in Italy and Europe, but in all the countries where we are present with our projects, especially in Latin America where we can count on the penetration of our group. It is a path that we want to extend as much as possible to electrify with our best practices and to change the way we think about mobility.