The automotive industry is increasingly convinced that the future of transport is electric and leading industry groups highlighted the new developments set to take place in the sector at the recent GenevaInternational Motor Show. The world's largest manufacturers are investing in electric vehicles, from Nissan and Honda in Japan – a country in which the number of e-car charging points has recently surpassed that of traditional petrol stations – to Fiat and leading German manufacturers.
Mercedes' Head of Research and Development Thomas Weber announced the launch of 10 new hybrid plug-in models by 2017. The cars are equipped with rechargeable batteries connected to charging stations and feature hybrid technology developed from Formula 1 vehicles.
Klaus Fröhlich, BMW's Head of Research and Development, highlighted the extensive investments that have led to the development of both compact urban vehicles such as the i3 and aggressive sport vehicles such as the i8, which feature hybrid technology and a small petrol engine in order to increase autonomy. Fröhlich explained that this is due to the fact that many countries have yet to enforce legislation that will encourage the development of electric charging infrastructure.
The Enel Group is at the forefront in this sector and is taking part in projects and initiatives from Europe to Latin America. Last September, Enel Distribuzione and Hubject GmbH (a joint venture formed by BMW, Bosch, Daimler, EnBW, RWE and Siemens) signed an agreement to develop a Europe-wide eRoaming platform that will feature interoperable charging stations. The aim is to make Enel's Electric Mobility Management (EMM) and Hubject's intercharge eRoaming platform compatible, accelerating the development of charging infrastructure and promoting a culture of eco-friendly travel.
EMM is a remote control system that aids the supervision of all charging stations installed by Enel. It is an eRoaming platform that supports both the Group's charging points and those owned by other businesses. Altogether, EMM currently supports over 2,000 stations.
In Italy, in addition to signing agreements with local and regional institutions for the development of public charging networks, the Group has recently launched a pilot project for the installation of both fast charge and multi-standard stations on the expressway between Rome and Pomezia.
In Spain, Endesa has developed the first electric car battery recycling system, deploying it as a storage system in a 50 kilowatt fast charging station in the smart city of Malaga, as part of the EU Green eMotion project. The aim is to give for e-car batteries a second life, in which they will be used for public transport charging points participating in the Victoria Project. The initiative was launched in 2013, and is developing a wireless en-route bus charging system.
Enel supports e-mobility culture in every country it operates in, through the corporate fleets, car sharing programmes and electric bicycles made available to its employees. Enel's technicians and sales teams use electric vehicles to travel throughout Italy and Spain, and since 2010, Endesa Spain has replaced 32 percent of the company's vehicles with electric cars. Slovenské Elektrárne meanwhile has recently expanded its e-car fleet to 15, with the vehicles supported by a charging network located in proximity to corporate headquarters in the country's key cities. Similar initiatives are also underway at Enel's Latin American subsidiaries.