“The majority of private vehicles will soon be electric.” Such a prophecy would have seemed almost obvious when the first motor cars began to appear, but only now after over a century of petrol is it starting to become possible.
To turn the theory into practice, all the parties involved must pool their efforts. This is why Enel has joined the Platform for Electro-mobility, the European organisation for the promotion and support of national and EU policies in favour of electrical mobility.
The project has over 30 members including industrial giants like Siemens, car manufacturers committed to electrical mobility such as the Renault-Nissan group, but also international organisations like Eurelectric, the association that unites Europe’s electricity companies and is currently chaired for 2017-2019 by Enel’s CEO Francesco Starace.
In short, the platform is a place where interested parties can work together to develop solutions geared towards increasing the use of electric vehicles, actively offering them to decision-makers and influencers in the European Union and its member countries.
The platform’s statute requires each member’s commitment to allocate the resources needed to achieve the common aims. This is completely natural for us here at Enel: our commitment to electrical mobility is by no means new. To strengthen it we’ve launched Enel X, the new identity with which the Enel Group’s Global Business Line e-Solutions is going to approach customers to offer new products and services, also in the electrical mobility sector.
We’ve signed numerous partnership agreements with various car manufacturers over the years, working together with them on electrical mobility projects in Europe and South America and also involving local authorities, because an adequate presence of charging infrastructures is essential for widescale dissemination. To quote Starace, “Our job is to equip our country, Italy, and the countries in which we operate, from Spain to South America, with public and private charging infrastructures that will enable the owners of electric cars to have a normal life and enjoy themselves, something which is absolutely possible when you drive an electric car”.
In 2016, the number of Enel charging stations installed rose above 3,200, some public and some private. Another 200 fast-charge stations will be added with the EVA+ project, enabling drivers to “fill-up” in 20 minutes. 180 of them will be on the major motorways in Italy, and 20 in Austria: this will take electric cars beyond city limits. The first 30 infrastructures have already been installed along the main Italian motorway linking Rome and Milan.
And this is just the beginning: our new e-Mobility Revolution plan presented on the 9 of November envisages a network of 7,000 charging stations in Italy by the end of 2020, with this figure climbing to 14,000 in 2022. Meanwhile, the installation of fast-charge stations for electric buses has begun in Spain.
We have launched an innovative project in partnership with Nissan in Denmark, the UK and Germany: it’s called Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) and focuses on two-way charging. This type of charging not only allows a car to draw electricity from the charging infrastructure, but can also return any excess energy to the grid. In practice, the car becomes a sort of mobile battery: a very interesting solution at a time when we’re looking to energy storage systems to meet the changing needs of the market and the difficulties related to inconstant production from renewable energy sources.
In 2016 Enel also became the Official Power Partner of Formula E, the first motor-racing championship reserved for electric cars. The agreement not only makes us sponsors, but suppliers of the technologies we’ve developed for smart grids, helping to further improve the project’s efficiency and sustainability. We are thus also going to prove that motorsports can be sustainable. And above all, we’re going to give electrical mobility the showcase it deserves in terms of visibility and appeal.