E-mobility, Enel is a first mover

Published on Friday, 23 June 2017

Pioneering experimentation with V2G, a national plan for recharging columns, the establishment of a new E-Mobility unit dedicated to the sector, the European tender for infrastructure on the motorway connecting Italy and Austria.

Observers of the sector have been saying for some time that the business of e-mobility is due to really take off in the coming years.

Enel is ready. Read about the Group’s projects for the coming years and it is clear that the development of innovative technology for e-mobility represents not just a key element of the strategy, but also an undertaking to be a first mover, made possible by a series of solid commitments. Here they are below.

Thanks to Enel, in Italy there are already around 900 public recharging columns, in addition to the 1800 columns installed on private premises. In the autumn the Group will define a national plan to extend coverage across the a larger proportion of the national territory over the coming years. The creation of an extensive recharging network is, in fact, one of the keys to the success of this revolution in the transport sector. Through partnerships with leading players from the automotive industry, start ups and research centres, Enel is working to create recharging systems and services that are simple and fast in order to encourage the spread of e-mobility.

Further confirming the importance of e-mobility to the Group’s strategy, in May a new global business division was set up called E-Solutions, led by Francesco Venturini, launched in order to capitalize on the transformation of the energy industry and explore the opportunities that arise from the new technology. One of the four primary areas is specifically E-mobility, together with the solutions E-Home & Consumer, E-City and E-Industries. These four areas represent significant business opportunities if we can manage to take advantage of the evolution of disruptive technology to create value in an era of profound change and transformations in various industrial sectors. E-Solutions is working on a national level for the recharging infrastructure that will be ready in the coming months with the planned launch of the first installations due in the autumn.

Another key piece of the jigsaw for developing the infrastructure plan is the Eva+ project, an acronym that stands for Electric Vehicles Arteries. This project is financed by the European Commission and plans the installation of recharging stations along the motorway corridor between Italy and Austria. The preparatory activities are now under way for the installation of the infrastructure using state of the art columns. The same standard is currently used for all European motorways.

The EVA+ project has been promoted by Enel together with automobile manufacturers Nissan, Renault, BMW and Volkswagen in addition to the Austrian utility Verbund. These project partners have been defining the criteria and monitoring the evolution of the relevant technology.  As result of this work, by 30 September, we aim to have installed the first 30 columns along the motorway corridor.

The model proposed by Enel under the agreement allows customers to pay the recharge:

  • Through the app, by means of credit card or cash (unless they have signed a contract with a service provider)
  • With their contract, signed with any service provider.

This important commitment, however, should not distract us from looking to the future. Another key priority for Enel is, in fact, the experimentation with Vehicle to grid (V2G)a new technology that transforms the car into a mobile battery. Enel launched the commercial project in Denmark last year and then carried out tests in the United Kingdom and finally, this year in France and Germany with two further projects. Now the first recharging infrastructure for V2G cars will arrive in Italy, thanks to a pilot project for company car sharing serving the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, developed by Enel Energy in partnership with Nissan Italy. Thanks to V2G, the e-cars are transformed into batteries that interact intelligently with the electricity network, enabling the car to stabilize power flows and thus encourage the production of renewables. Cars can thus store energy during off-peak consumption hours and return any excess energy later when there is greater demand for it.

Another important aspect of Enel’s approach for e-mobility concerns its collaboration with external organizations. It is, in fact, through the collaboration with foundations and research centres that Enel, in particular the Enel Foundation, plans to outline the future scenarios of e-mobility in Italy, in Europe and in the world, through partnerships with the Milan Polytechnic, the Bocconi University’s Centre for Regional Economy, Transport and Tourism, collaboration with the Aspen Institute and the Symbola foundation, which drafted a report on 100 success stories about e-mobility in Italy that was presented in Brussels.

Finally, Enel is also a global power partner of Formula E, the global championship for single-seat electric racing cars that also serves as a cutting edge laboratory for electric transport of the future. In this case we install digital intelligent technology that enables the monitoring of energy consumption within the racetrack area, while using renewable energy to power the racing cars, the technical areas and other spaces at the race venues. The aim is to transform these ePrix into totally CO2 neutral events, providing also a glimpse of the cities of the future.