Electric Mobility: World Economic Forum and the future of cities
Published on Thursday, 15 February 2018
“Smart mobility. Smart water. Smart grid. Smart integration. These are the foundations of tomorrow’s cities, which are being realized today.”
This is the premise that the World Economic Forum has chosen for its report, in which electric mobility assumes a fundamental role. The report titled “Electric Vehicles for Smarter Cities: The Future of Energy and Mobility” describes the strategies necessary for electric vehicles to become an increasingly developed reality, starting with public transport.
The recommendations provided by the WEF show how to adapt each electrification strategy to specific markets and describe examples of public and private transformation initiatives.
Promoted by leading figures from the energy sector, including the CEO of the Enel Group, the report was drawn up as part of the “Grid Edge Transformation” project.
Grid Edge Transformation Project
Electrification, digitalisation and decentralization are the keystones of the project that form a virtuous circle to consolidate the overall benefits in addition to the individual contributions. The integration of these trends could generate more than $2.4 trillion in global value for society and industry in the next decade, increasing the efficiency of the overall system, optimizing capital allocation and creating new services for customers.
The three trends include all the main technologies that are influencing the electrical system, such as storage and distributed generation, smart meters and household appliances.
But the real key technologies of electrification are the core technologies of electric vehicles.
Based on the assumption that electric mobility should not only be part of a process, but also an element of cohesion and integration with the other players on the Smart City stage, the WEF document aims to provide guidelines that can lead to an approach pursuing energy efficiency and the reduction of greenhouse gases responsible for air pollution.
The integration of the three trends is therefore essential for the design of a more favourable environment, which facilitates the development of flexible rates and spreads the culture of sustainable mobility as a collective asset.
Electric public transport must therefore be encouraged both for the fleets of operators and for vehicles used by taxi companies or for car-sharing, i.e., all those vehicles with a high number of kilometres travelled per day and passengers transported.
According to the WEF, it is time to start with the widespread development of a public charging infrastructure, a decisive feature to facilitate the ramified spread of electric mobility in cities. The distribution of this infrastructure must be planned with precision and foresight in order to anticipate the evolution of individual towns and offer increasingly shared and automated transport models.
The course of action set out in the report highlights the tangible benefits that will result from the total electrification of transport for the environment, energy efficiency, urban mobility and the quality of the air that we breathe.
Enel X is working to achieve this outcome.
Electric mobility is no longer seen as an isolated aspect, but as part of a system that simultaneously integrates and supports the other features of smart cities.
From a perspective of smart energy management, therefore, electric vehicles will become more affordable for consumers, who will be able to choose to charge at times when the price of electricity is lower or when renewable energy sources produce more. Furthermore, with modern bi-directional charging systems, such as our V2G technology, electric cars can return unused energy to the grid, functioning like mobile batteries that help stabilise the electricity network.
These are exciting times. New technologies are enabling people to rethink the way they live in a more sustainable and efficient way. This is the premise of the WEF report and the starting point for our projects.