There is no transition without reloading. The still lukewarm reception of motorists towards electric cars is linked not only to their price (despite the incentives) and their autonomy, but also to the infrastructure for supplying energy. The manufacturers’ associations, at European and Italian level, intervened to urge the policy to set objectives in this sense even before the “Fit for 55” Community plan which provides for the end of marketing to cars with combustion engines by 2035. And also the reduction of CO2 emissions by 55% by the end of the decade. Italy alone is aiming for 6 million zero-emission cars by 2030: volumes increased by 251% last year (almost 60,000 units) and in the first four months registrations have already reached 70% of those of 2020. Ambitious goals which, on the basis of a study by the Politecnico di Milano presented by Vittorio Chiesa, cannot be reached without an integration of the recharging network. “As in the 1980s and 1990s, mobile phones began to join landlines, today it is necessary to integrate solutions charging on-grid (on the network, ed) and off-grid (not on the network, ed): in particular, mobile charging via 100% green van, practical and reliable “, summarized Eugenio de Blasio, president and founder of E -GAP, the first mobile, on-demand and sustainable charging operator for electric cars in Europe.
Off-grid systems include vehicles equipped with batteries that travel to supply energy to other vehicles, temporary charging stations, the “battry swap” (battery replacement), self-propelled robots that fill up with electricity in confined areas and systems powered by renewable sources that use batteries that have reached their first life cycle.
Paraphrasing the well-known adage attributed to Muhammad, if the car does not go to the charging station, the charging station goes to the car. “All the systems are needed – summed up Gaetano Thorel, number one of Fiat and Abarth in Europe – and the off-grid systems are complementary because they contribute to the capillarity of the network”. It is E-GAP itself, a subject that is anything but uninterested in the development of the mobile network, to recall the advantages of the off-grid system: management flexibility, shorter recharging times, high adaptability to different vehicles, reduction in occupancy of public land and lower network connection costs. Despite the convergence on the usefulness of this system and despite the institutions’ intention to invest in electric mobility, “the incentives for fixed charging infrastructures are still clearly prevalent compared to those obtained from mobile charging solutions”, complains De Blasio.
In Italy, 57% of public energy supply points are concentrated in the north: in the south and on the islands the electric car is a “luxury” that can hardly be afforded with less than 4,000 stations available.
Italy has already reduced greenhouse gas emissions, which reached their peak in 2005: since then they have fallen by almost 30% until 2018. Even those related to the transport sector, which are also worth almost 27% of the total ones have almost returned to the levels of 1990 (104 million tons of CO2eq in 2018). Electrification is an acceleration towards improving the environmental balance and the charging infrastructure is one of the ways to pave the way for zero-emission cars. It is then a question of understanding how the energy used is produced, because if it is not sustainable then the problem of air quality has only been transferred from one environment to another.