We The Italians | Italian report: 100 Italian e-mobility stories 2023

Italian report: 100 Italian e-mobility stories 2023

Italian report: 100 Italian e-mobility stories 2023

  • WTI Magazine #161 Mar 18, 2023
  • 685

Nearly 20 million passenger electric vehicles, 1.3 million electric commercial vehicles, and more than 280 million electric mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles are on the road worldwide, and according to recent estimates a global market share for electrified cars of more than 50% driven by BEV technologies is expected by 2030.

The main markets are China and Europe, the latter saw a 65.7% increase in registrations of electric or ultra-low-emission (ECV) cars in 2021 compared to 2020 and saw sales of electric cars overtake diesel vehicles for the first time in December.

Germany has proved itself to be the leader in the European market, with 682,000 registrations, followed by the United Kingdom (306,000) and France (303,000). In Italy 2021 ended with an increase in sales of electrified (hybrid and electric) cars by 199% compared to the previous year, reaching 38.4% of the total registered vehicles. If we consider BEV car registrations from January to October 2022, the Italian market recorded 39,400 units (compared to 54,166 BEV units registered in the same period in 2021), with the Fiat 500E still at the top of the 5 best-selling BEVs in our country (5,585 units as of October 2022).

A sector that has been letting talents and resources circulate and that Fondazione Symbola and Enel have been describing in the report “100 Italian E-mobility Stories” since 2017. Today, in its fourth edition, the report tells the stories of the Italian players in this challenge: companies, designers, research centres, universities and associations that have designed solutions and technologies for electric mobility.

A challenge that has already shown us its numbers. In 2022, for the first time investments in e-mobility could surpass those in renewables: as of 2021 they have increased by 77%, reaching $273 billion. Overseas, in the USA, Biden has drafted a giant $369 bn climate bill to accelerate the efforts to tackle Paris Agreement’s climate change goals, supporting the deployment of electric cars and boosting domestic battery production in order to achieve independence from raw material imports.

Through the Next Generation EU, the Green Deal and the ban of new registrations of internal combustion cars by 2035, the European Union has given a clear signal to industries on the path to follow, as clear is the will to contend with China for primacy on batteries, through the IPCEI European Battery Innovation (EuBatIn), creating a European supply chain for the production of efficient and recyclable batteries, bringing together the best energies, including several Italian excellences mentioned in this report.

Gigafactory projects have been implemented in Italy: in addition to the FIB Teverola 2 manufacturing plant in the area of Caserta that is expected to join the homonymous power plant with a production capacity of 350 MWh, projects have been implemented by Italvolt, which, when fully operational, will house 3,000 employees and will be built in the former Olivetti plant in Scarmagno in the province of Turin.

The other project is that of the Automotive Cells Company (ACC), a joint venture between Stellantis, Mercedes and TotalEnergies, which aims for a production of at least 120 GWh by 2030 with a new gigafactory in the former Stellantis factories in Termoli, in the province of Campobasso. In this field, Italy boasts a European centre of excellence in battery research, the Battery Hub in Turin dedicated to battery assembly, as well as companies in the mechanical sector, in which Italy boasts the fourth position in the world, the second in Europe by export value, with new battery assembly and related battery pack machines.

From this point of view, the National Recovery an Resilience Plan (NRRP) has earmarked more than 13 billion euros for industrial transition (involving many companies in the automotive sector), 1 billion euros for renewables and battery development, 740 million for the growth of the electric charging infrastructure and 300 million euros for electric buses, thus certainly making a contribution to the conversion of the supply chain.

The transition to the new mobility could open new market spaces for our country. At the present, in the Italian automotive supply chain about 1 company out of 3 has positioned itself in the electrified vehicle market by developing and producing components. Of particular interest is the Brescia district that in the matter of conversion has been addressing its industries on the issue of lightweighting the components of electric vehicles. However, according to the report there is a growth of domestic production of electric and hybrid cars: in 2019 they accounted for only 0.1% of total car production, while in 2021 they exceeded 40%.

However also the production of last-mile vehicles has increased, thanks to sharing and the acceleration of digital in the creation of apps and management services. The production of made in Italy e-bikes has registered a strong growth whereas electric scooters are now the most popular shared vehicle in Italy: in 2021, 1 shared vehicle out of 3 in our country is an electric scooter, 9 out of 10 if we exclude cars.

The report also highlights the role of design, in which Italy represents excellence, boasting among the best car design studios in the world. Companies called upon today to redesign the shapes of the vehicles of the future and to meet the needs for simplification and improvement of services. Tricolour quality and technologies are also present in the charging infrastructure, where energy providers and hi-tech column manufacturers have been working to enable fast charging times and diffusion of charging points with renewable sources. Finally, the task carried out by the scientific world and communication is fundamental that through studies and dissemination activities have been playing an important role in the diffusion of new mobility models.

Much remains to be done. Starting with equipping the territory with infrastructures: as of September 30, 2022, 32,776 public charging points deployed in 13,225 locations accessible to the public, of which, 75% are located on public land (e.g., on roads) while the remaining 25% are on private land for public use, such as supermarkets or shopping malls.

Therefore, the role of large-scale retailers is important, with the installation of columns in the parking areas intended for their customers, but even more so is the role of enabling platforms such as Enel X Way (with a network of 17,000 public charging points throughout Italy), which has both launched a national plan to equip the country with a dense network (with a focus on the lagging Southern Italy), and a comprehensive service for businesses that want to offer a charging service to their customers.

Also crucial is the transition to electric power of other mobility models, such as boating: Enel has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) and Garbage Service to increase the use of electricity for fishing boats, which also includes the electrification of docks and related charging service. Rail transport is also important: the NRRP provides funds of 25 billion euros for investment in a more sustainable rail network.

Finally, a lag in the electrification of public transport is recorded: the most active Italian cities are Milan (ATM Azienda Trasporti Milanesi aims at electrifying its entire fleet of 1,200 buses by 2030 for an investment of about €1.5 billion in vehicles and infrastructure) and Turin (GTT Gruppo Torinese Trasporti already runs 33% of its service kilometres through electric vehicles). Incentivizing the Italian public transport supply chain is an opportunity to be seized, since according to Utip (International Public Transport Association) in 2030 electric buses will account for half of the city bus market in Europe.

The 100 stories of companies, research centres, universities, public agencies and associations that you will read in the next pages describe a great industrial challenge for our country, in which the key factors will be: innovation, beauty and territories.