E-mobility: Focus on Italy

Published on Friday, 17 February 2017

From A for Archimede Energia which has invented the "energy suitcase" with lithium modules, to Z for Zehus, a box containing everything you need to build a real hybrid electric bike. And in between, you will find a hundred stories of excellence to tell about the Italian e-mobility industry which is made of design, technology, and environmental awareness.

This is the adventure behind the book titled "100 Italian e-mobility stories", by Enel and Symbola, a foundation whose mission is to promote Italian quality. It marks the next step in a collaboration started a couple of years ago with the green economy report.

“Italy is a country of talents, especially in the field of design and manufacture, and the electric mobility sector is no exception. This collection of stories is our way to celebrate excellence made in Italy, as well as to boost the spread of electric vehicles," explained Enel CEO Francesco Starace at the presentation of the book.

Something has changed: in Italy, too, electric mobility is coming out of its niche. Certainly, Italy is still far from the 25 percent market share in Norway or the 10 percent share in the Netherlands, the two countries which, with China and the United States, account for 70 per cent of sales at global level. Nonetheless, "the cases of excellence presented in this study encourage us to head along the right path and show that Italy, despite everything, has risen to the challenge of the electric car and of the new mobility era,” as stated in the book’s introduction which can be downloaded at the Symbola website with the QR code.

Italy’s “e-mobility stories" are all worth reading. There is a startup called everyRide, the first app that aggregates all car sharing and bike sharing services available in Italian cities, and Estrima that has launched Birò. Neither a car nor a scooter, it is the first 4-wheel all-electric "personal commuter" with removable battery. Then, there is Fantic, the manufacturer of the legendary Caballero moped in the 1970s. It has now converted completely to the electric mobility cause. There is e-Wheel, the wheel developed by the historic brand Ducati Energia, in collaboration with MIT in Boston, that transforms a normal bicycle into a pedal-assist bike. And then there are the experiences of leading companies such as Brembo, Iveco, STMicroelectronics and Italian brands like Zagato which has designed car models for Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce and which is now exhibiting its creations at the Frankfurt Motor Show in the stand right next to Tesla.

It is a lively, unique and diverse landscape with centers of absolute excellence, and medium-sized enterprises that are exporting all over the world. They are excellent examples of a smart “conversion” which has its critical aspects though.

Enel is at the forefront in the commitment to spread electric cars. It has already presented a strategic platform for electric mobility in Italy and as part of the European collaboration project Eva+ it will launch the first integrated system for fast charging along motorways. It is also the first company in the world to have developed, together with Nissan, the Vehicle to Grid technology which uses electric vehicles also to ensure greater efficiency and stability of the distribution network allowing owners to generate revenue.

The maturity of electricity storage technologies, the spreading of clean energy sources and smart grids, new lifestyles and consumption patterns and the goals set by the Paris Climate Agreement are creating the conditions for clean mobility to become the absolute protagonist in the 21st century. And “Made in Italy” can leave its mark.