Executive Summary - Sustainable Mobility


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Executive Summary - Sustainable Mobility

  1. 1. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric MobilityThe questions addressed and the major conclusions drawn Executive Summary
  2. 2. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive SummaryThis booklet offers a summary of the themes that are dealt with in the book on ElectricMobility published in September 2011 and presented in Università Commerciale L.Bocconi, in Milan.The idea of extracting a brief summary from the longer document arose out of a desireto make available to a wider public an insight into the extensive and detailedinvestigation that the Milan-based foundation Fondazione EnergyLab has been carryingout in relation to the theme of electric mobility in Italy. In particular, the bookletreproduces the executive summary of the original text.The work is the product of the combined efforts of a group of experts that gravitatearound the Laboratorio Mobilità Sostenibile (Sustainable Mobility Laboratory), a projectconceived of, developed and promoted by Fondazione EnergyLab. The contents of thebooklet fully express the multi-disciplinary approach characteristic of the work of thelaboratory. The research in question lasted for over a year and the final result is the fruitof a highly articulated and carefully orchestrated effort that engaged a range of figuresfrom various areas of the academic, government and business worlds.In particular, the protagonists included professors from Milan’s five universities andvarious research centres – members of the foundation – as well as a range of peoplefrom the government and business worlds.EditorLanfranco Senn Università Commerciale Luigi BocconiAuthorsUgo Arrigo Università degli Studi di Milano-BicoccaMorris Brenna Politecnico di MilanoStefano Campanari Politecnico di MilanoAllegra Canepa Università degli Studi di MilanoSilvia Celaschi Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico-RSE SpALucia Dal Negro Università Cattolica del Sacro CuoreGiacomo Di Foggia Università Carlo Cattaneo – LIUCFederica Foiadelli Politecnico di MilanoIva Gianinoni Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico-RSE SpAPierpaolo Girardi Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico-RSE SpAGabriele Grea Università Commerciale Luigi BocconiGiuseppe Maurizio Riva Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico-RSE SpADario Zaninelli Politecnico di MilanoRoberto Zoboli Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore 2
  3. 3. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive SummaryThe EnergyLab Foundation was founded The Scientific Membersin Milan in 2007 with the goal of creatinga network of actors in the energy field Università Commerciale “L. Bocconi” Università degli Studi di Milano Bicoccaincluding universities, the business world Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuoreand regional and local government. It is Politecnico di Milanoa non-profit organization whose Università degli Studi di Milanomembers include Milan’s 5 major RSE – Ricerca sul Sistema Energeticouniversities. The foundation promotesresearch and innovation in all areas ofthe energy sector, operating by way of 6laboratories focusing on differentthemes: Renewable Energies, SmartGrids, Nuclear Security, ElectricMobility, Energy Efficiency andAccess to Energy in DevelopingCountries.The foundation’s legal status as aparticipatory foundation makes itpossible for it to undertake non-profitactivities, furnishing support to itsmembers and present and futurepartners.To Contact Us:The EnergyLab FoundationPiazza Trento, 1320135 Milan (Italy)Phone +39 02 7720.5265Fax +39 02 7720.5060info@energylabfoundation.orgwww.energylabfoundation.org 3
  4. 4. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive SummaryExecutive summarySustainable mobility is the theme of one of the 5 energy-related work/studylaboratories set up by Fondazione EnergyLab.Like each of the other laboratories (on nuclear security, renewable energy sources,smart grids and access to energy), the laboratory on sustainable mobility carries outa variety of activities including research, the organisation of seminars andconferences and the running of on-going meetings of experts and operators. Theultimate aim of all the laboratories is to furnish academics, industry protagonists anddecision-makers with the opportunity to engage more effectively in the scientific,cultural and professional promotion of energy-related themes of prime importance tothe development of the country.This general objective also lay behind the decision to set up a laboratory onsustainable mobility.In fact, in Italy, especially in urban and metropolitan areas characterised by densehuman settlement and extensive productive activity, the level of mobility is so highthat for the people living and working there it generates distinct categories ofeconomic and social costs - so-called “negative externalities”, in particular congestionand pollution. While it is practically impossible to determine who in particular hasbeen directly responsible for generating these problems, there can be no doubt thattoday they significantly reduce the quality of life of the community.Even a cursory look at the data on urban mobility relating to the last few yearsdramatically reveals a set of trends that cannot but provoke serious concern. Belowwe furnish four sets of figures on some of the most problematic areas. 4
  5. 5. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive SummaryStructural indexes of the demand for mobility (Figures 1 and 2) The overall demand for mobility on an average working day Total number of trips The total number of passenger kilometres travelled (in millions) (in millions)Private mobility (Figures 3 and 4) Total number of vehicles in circulation Number of motor vehicles Rate of vehicle ownershipNumber of motor vehicles (in 1,000s) and rate of vehicle ownership (vehicles per every 100inhabitants) – ItalyNumber of motor vehicles / Rate of vehicle ownershipNumber of motor vehiclesRate of vehicle ownership (Italy)Rate of vehicle ownership (large cities)Population as of 31/12Public mobility (Figures 5 and 6)Number of trips on public transport as a percentage of total tripsNumber of trips by “rail” (trams, tube and local trains) as a percentage of the total number of trips on publictransport in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants 5
  6. 6. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive SummaryThe performance of local public transport companies (Figures 7 and 8)Number of vehicle kilometres provided Number of passengers carried(index numbers) (index numbers)Source: ISFORT-ASSTRA (Associazione Trasporti [Note: Association of public transportproviders])1These graphics clearly show that the overall demand for mobility is growingconstantly both in terms of the raw number of individual trips effected and the totalnumber of passenger kilometres travelled.For the most part this demand is being met by private vehicles, whose number isgrowing constantly especially in large urban conglomerations.By contrast, the percentage of trips on public transport is moving in the oppositedirection even though there is – obviously above all in the big cities – a slightincrease in the amount of transport by “rail” (trams, tube and local trains).So far as the supply side is concerned, one important feature to note is theimprovement in the performance of local public transport companies. This is the fruitof the highly desirable – and, for that matter, inevitable – process of rationalisationthat has invested the sector over recent years.The environmental consequences of this situation have been illustrated veryeffectively by the Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (TheAdvanced Institute for Environmental Protection and Research) (ISPRA) in its VI1 Source, ISFORT (Istituto Superiore di Formazione e Ricerca per i Trasporti - Advanced Institute forTraining and Research in the Transport Industry) and ASSTRA, Osservatorio permanente sulla MobilitàUrbana Sostenibile, edizione 2010 (Permanent Observatory on Sustainable Urban Mobility, published2010). 6
  7. 7. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive Summary Rapporto Annuale sulla Qualità dell’Ambiente Urbano (6th Annual Report on the Quality of the Urban Environment). The institute has pointed out how some air quality objectives have been reached on a national level in respect of some primary pollutants, i.e. those emitted directly from sources (e.g.: SO2, CO, Pb). So far as these pollutants are concerned, the reduction in emissions has derived directly from the elimination/reduction of the polluting element in fuels and/or from the introduction of devices for reducing polluting emissions. On the other hand, other air quality objectives fixed in respect of both primary and secondary pollutants (the latter being those that form in the atmosphere by way of chemical reactions, e.g.: PM10, NO2, O3) have not been reached. The Advanced Institute’s 6th Annual Report also notes that most of the various types of polluting emissions are on the decline. This is true above all of primary pollutants thanks - as we pointed out above - to the direct elimination of such elements from fuels and/or to the adoption of pollution reduction technologies. So far as other pollutants are concerned, up to now the reduction of the emissions has been less effective. In this regard see Figure 9 below, which represents alongside the relevant data in relation to motor vehicle kilometres travelled the trends over time in the annual emissions of a range of pollutants. So far as motor vehicles are concerned, CO2 emissions have been growing at a slower rate than the number of kilometres travelled thanks to an improvement in the performance of combustion engines and in particular diesel engines. The drastic reduction in the sulphur content of petrol and diesel has resulted in the near total disappearance of SO2 emissions. In addition, the adoption of increasingly strict norms on motor vehicle emissions has led to a significant reduction in the emissions of nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter. In fact, these currently stand at around 50% of their levels in 1990. Motor vehicles: kilometres travelled and emissions of pollutants160140120 veic_km100 CO2 80 NOX 60 SOX PM2.5 40 20 0 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007Source: Elaborated by RSE – Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico SpA (Research into the EnergySystem, Joint stock company) on the basis of data provided by ISPRA 7
  8. 8. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive SummaryEvery attempt to act on mobility in such a way as to reduce congestion and pollution– and thereby improve the quality of life of the community – constitutes acomponent of an overall policy effort aimed at rendering mobility “sustainable” inspace and over time.And the number of attempts that have in fact been made has been huge. This initself testifies not only to the existence of a very widespread awareness of theseriousness of the problem but also to the complexity of the solutions to beimplemented in order to achieve effective results.The various initiatives have gone from the efforts that many motor vehiclemanufactures have made to adjust their thinking towards vehicles powered byenergy sources other than petrol to those of the producers of fuels and devices forreducing harmful emissions into the atmosphere; from the development ofinfomobility technologies to the creation of new materials with which to constructcertain infrastructures (for the absorption of dust particles and noise); from attemptsto achieve a correct balance between the road- and rail- (as well as water-) boundtransportation of passengers and goods to the reorganisation of public and privatetransport. And not to be left off this list are the urban and regional planning policiesthat have rendered mobility more fluid.Even to talk about sustainable mobility, then – let alone to seek to achieve it –constitutes a challenge of great complexity and vital importance.Fondazione EnergyLab’s Laboratory on Sustainable Mobility aspires to contribute tomeeting this challenge but at the same time it is well aware that it is not possible totackle the problem from all points of view at one and the same time.For this reason, by way of making a start on its activity of promoting technical know-how and cultural awareness in relation to sustainable mobility, the laboratory choseto concentrate on just one of the possible solutions to the more general problems:the introduction and widespread use of electric mobility. This alone is a challenge ofhuge complexity due to the intricate interdependence of the numerous factors atplay within it.This first Report on Sustainable Mobility, the fruit of the initial work of the laboratory,has sought to confront these factors from a highly interdisciplinary point of view.This is the reason why it has been divided into seven chapters, which together seekto cover the various themes, bringing to bear the full weight of all the technical-scientific expertise available in the various Milan universities and research centresthat participate in the laboratory.Chapter 1 (Models of Sustainable Mobility) illustrates in a synthetic manner thevarious outcomes that might emerge from the numerous combinations of electricaltechnologies being adopted, from the relevant legal-regulatory context and from theorientation and behaviour of the potential users of electric mobility. 8
  9. 9. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive SummaryChapter 2 (The State of the Art of Electric Vehicle Technologies and ExpectedDevelopments) offers a comprehensive account both of the most “mature” electricvehicle technologies currently being developed (some already in the productionphase, others presently being tested) and of the systems for accumulating energy inits various forms including the characteristics of the batteries involved. It also opensa window on the technologies of combustible cells and the as yet unresolvedproblems involved in their application.Chapter 3 (An Analysis of the Social Acceptance and Demand) shows – by way ofanalysing among other things a number of empirical studies – that the demand forelectric vehicles is also very difficult to establish. There is a great deal of suspicionand hesitancy as well as concrete concerns about cost and uncertain expectationsabout the real effects of possible future incentives. All this does little to provideproducers and political-administrative decision-makers with “guarantees” in relationto the market.Chapter 4 (The Introduction of Electric Vehicles into the Electricity System) illustrateshow electric mobility is inevitably tied to the production and distribution of theelectric energy on which it relies. It analyses the various ways in which electricvehicles can be connected to the electricity network (the problem of recharging),examines some of the solutions that have already been adopted by motor vehiclemanufacturers and evaluates the benefits and opportunities (incentives andregulation) that owners of electric vehicles currently enjoy in respect of theirconsumption of electricity.Chapter 5 (An Analysis of the System) extends the perspective beyond theimmediate interests of producers and users of electric vehicles to examine the majoroverall implications of the development of electric mobility: from the environmentaland energy-related benefits to the impact on the motor vehicle sector as a whole, tothe implications on urban and regional planning and development, to the need toadapt and empower the regulatory framework so as to facilitate a more widespreaduse of electric mobility.Finally, Chapter 6 (A World-wide Survey of Experimental Studies and Pilot Projects)examines a number of pilot projects already in place in other countries in order notonly to throw light on the feasibility of sustainable mobility in general but also toidentify the most successful initiatives carried out up to date so as to be able todetermine how best to promote the spread of electric mobility. 9
  10. 10. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive SummaryIn this first edition of the report it was decided to not analyse analogous pilot studiesin Italy because they are still in a nascent phase and yet to take solid form.To draw conclusions from a report that merely set itself the objective of beginning tooffer an account of the various problems relating to the spread of electric mobility inItaly would without doubt be excessively ambitious and presumptuous.Nevertheless, at least in regard to one question in particular, the studies carried outby the laboratory’s experts are in complete agreement: the achievement of the long-term objective of facilitating the widespread use of electric mobility will ultimatelydepend on the manner and speed with which the various players manage to set inmotion in an irreversible way the initial start-up process.In fact, notwithstanding the widespread belief that electric mobility does have afuture, that this future will see its spread on a very large scale and that this spreadwill bring with it substantial benefits for society – on the environmental, economicand transport plane – there can nonetheless be no doubt that there also exist anumber of factors that will act as obstacles to – or at least present problems for – arapid development of electric mobility. These factors include the following:a) the very perception on the part of the various producers of vehicles, batteries, associated technologies etc. that electric mobility does constitute a huge business opportunity and, precisely because of this perception, the emergence between them of a fierce form of competition, resulting in a marked reluctance to form alliances, in particular in the current pioneering phase when such alliances are of vital importance;b) the cultural immaturity of the demand, whose orientation in the face of market stimuli (prices, quality and performances) does not yet encompass a long-term view and is therefore conditioned (quite understandably) by the characteristics of the current offer (costs, recharging, logistical difficulties etc);c) the slowness (and complexity) of the decision-making processes of the relevant government bodies, which, on the one hand, have to attend to a wide range of problems (the safeguarding of alternative markets, overall energy policies, infrastructure works to adjust the urban environment, the determination of tariffs and the provision of incentives) that together constitute a highly complex regulatory challenge and which, on the other, are in any case sensitive to a series of interests in conflict with each other and for this reason are not sufficiently unified and decided in their decisions;d) the “resistance” expressed in various forms and degrees by actors in other markets and sectors in the mobility field: from vehicle manufacturers to producers of fuels, from mobility services providers to the unions;e) a number of technical and technological problems that still characterise the sector (or the field), above all in terms of the economic advantageousness of adopting – in the short, medium or long term – alternative solutions. On the other hand, the 10
  11. 11. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive Summary technologies in themselves appear to be a much less constricting problem in that they are for the most part already available and have been tested sufficiently. Generally speaking, it would be reasonable to say that the biggest obstacle to the rapid spread of electric mobility (and not just in Italy) is constituted by the need to promote solutions that - while nonetheless remaining efficient - make provision for a proficuous meeting of the various interests at play. Demand and supply do not yet trust each other enough to be able to gamble together on the activation of an irreversible process of introducing electric mobility.Consumers are waiting for prices to fall whereas producers are not yet able toannounce (or realise) that fall without the consumers expressing themselves in amore explicit manner. And for their part local and regional government authoritiesare holding back to take note of the minimal stable level at which electric mobilityestablishes itself before making provision for the necessary infrastructure.The right combination of decisions needs to be delicately set in train at one and thesame moment so as to avoid providing excuses for resistance on the part of thevarious interests at play.While these are the general conclusions that can be drawn from the study as awhole, each separate part offers a range of often extremely precise stimuli forthought. In the conclusions that follow we endeavour to examine these from a rangeof perspectives and not necessarily just in terms of the particular themes of theindividual chapters.These more specific conclusions draw attention both to a number of findings that arenow widely accepted and to a series of problematic issues still open to debate.In the combined sequential process of the evolution of the supply of electric mobilityand the evolution of the demand for electric mobility there is no doubt that theformer evolution is more “mature”, i.e. that it has already set in place and for themost part consolidated investment in research and technological innovation, by noweven arriving at the point of facilitating an advanced phase of experimentalproduction.In fact, vehicles with electric propulsion now boast engines that are not onlycharacterised by a total absence of exhaust emissions but also by a level ofefficiency superior to that of all other systems of propulsion in existence today. 11
  12. 12. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive SummaryIndeed, today, after decades of alternating phases of interest and lack of interest, allthe major automobile manufacturers appear to be responding positively to this newpromising opportunity to relaunch the crisis-ridden sector by offering in their productrange – whether current or in one or two years time – one or more electric options,be it battery-powered and/or of a hybrid type chargeable by way of the electricitynetwork. In 2010 industry experts formally recognised the maturity of thetechnology, assigning the Car of the Year Award for the first time to plug-in electricor hybrid models being introduced into the market. For the onboard accumulation ofenergy the most widely used batteries are lithium-ion batteries, characterised by anenergy density sufficient to guarantee a driving autonomy of over 150 kilometres(more than sufficient in particular for use in an urban environment) and by a numberof charge/discharge cycles capable of permitting electric vehicles to cover distancesin the order of those typical of conventional vehicles. Some EU forecasts haveidentified the potential market for electric vehicles in the order of from 1-2% of salesin 2020 to a range between 11% and 30% in 2030.In the medium- to long-term period the use of electric vehicles with hydrogen-powered fuel cells constitutes one of the most promising alternatives to operatealongside the technology of battery-powered electric vehicles; their potential interms of low consumption and zero polluting emissions and their possible applicationeven in medium- and large-size vehicles or in heavy vehicles makes them acandidate to be a fundamental player in vehicle propulsion for transport in the nearfuture. Extensive research and development programmes carried out by variousmanufacturers in North America, Europe and Japan have shown that in the field offuel cell vehicles hydrogen fuel cell vehicles offer levels of performance, adaptabilityand comfort comparable to those of traditional vehicles. Starting out from theseresults attention has shifted to the possibility of actually producing the vehiclescommercially, an undertaking which would certainly be rendered even more feasibleby the advantages offered by economies of scale and mass production. The mostrecent applications of the technology in question have ranged from scooters, toautomobiles of various segments (principally medium- to small-size vehicles), tobuses. In order for hydrogen to become a widely used fuel, it will be necessary notjust to identify more effective storage technologies but also to set in place anefficient transportation and distribution network with the characteristics that users oftraditional fuels are used to. The transition to a widespread use of hydrogen willpresumably take place only gradually over the medium to long term, starting outfrom a process of experimentation in close proximity to urban areas, in particular byprogressively developing refuelling stations for fleets of vehicles circulating within alimited range of kilometres and in the meantime possibly making use of other fuelcell vehicles equipped with onboard hydrogen production systems, starting out fromother liquid (biofuels, methanol, LPG) or gaseous (natural gas or hydrogen mixtures) 12
  13. 13. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive Summaryfuels that are either already available in the existing distribution network or that canbe easily introduced into it.So far as the demand for electric mobility is concerned, notwithstanding anincreasingly widespread sensibility towards the environment, the preparedness ofconsumers to change their mobility and driving behaviour and move towards electricmobility remains largely uncharted territory. Information on the profiles of earlyadopters and mainstream consumers in the various potential markets remains limitedboth because of the novelty of the electric mobility technology itself and because thechoices of consumers in the field of mobility and motor vehicles in general are highlycomplex and very difficult to predict.The profile of the potential buyer of an electric vehicle in Europe takes the form of ayoung man or woman who has a high level of education, enjoys a medium to highincome and lives in an urban area. In contraposition to early adopters with thesecharacteristics, two other categories have been identified: people who will notbecome buyers of electric vehicles (rural, low income, low level of education) andpeople characterised by a propensity to wait for electric vehicles to become moremature and reliable. This overall situation distinguishes the market for electricvehicles at the present time as a niche market. The eventual success of electricvehicles amongst consumers has to overcome obstacles of cost and comparabilityboth in respect of traditional mobility and in respect of the alternatives constitutedby other low-impact vehicles. The cost factor remains important together with theproblem of recharging and the problem of the autonomy of the vehicle over longdistances. It is only by way of an adequate combination of these three elements, i.e.one which eliminates the perceived disadvantage of electric vehicles, that there willemerge a greater openness on the part of consumers towards electric mobility.With regard to the drivers of the demand for electric mobility and their contributionto the definition of future models of mobility, at the present time it is not possible toisolate the environment-related motivations in themselves in that they are veryclosely interconnected with particular social and local contexts. In fact, the majorfinding to emerge from our analysis is that the environmental motivation is notsufficient to generate substantial interest in the case where it is not backed-up byimprovements of a technological character (autonomy, reliability), by economicconvenience (costs, incentives) and by factors of a psychological nature (the newvehicles - at least in an initial phase - have to find a niche in the market as productswith a very high level of innovation and in some way become the distinguishingelement of a particular “style of life”). Moreover, it is essential that the demand andthe supply meet up with each other in contexts of a fully articulated nature, i.e. incontexts characterised by an effective regulatory-institutional framework, by efficientlocal/regional/national infrastructures, by a fully functional interface with theelectricity system and by impacts generated by the phenomenon of electric mobility 13
  14. 14. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive Summaryitself that are not negative in character and that therefore do not compromise itssocial acceptability.So far as the normative framework for electric mobility is concerned, the regulationof questions relating to the development and affirmation of electric vehicles is still ina developmental phase, with different degrees of progress at the EU and nationallevels.In particular, the European Union, as well as issuing a number of directives anddrawing up action plans aimed at delineating a strategy for electric transport ingeneral, is working towards the introduction of a set of European parameters for thecirculation and spread of electric vehicles. Some interesting initiatives in this directionare the proposal to obligatorily apply the ruling on the homologation of motorvehicles with a view to simplifying administrative processes and the introduction of amechanism of “super credits” to incentivate the use of electric vehicles.Still at the level of the EU emphasis has repeatedly been given to the important rolethat electric vehicles can play in reducing emissions in the transport sector, therebycontributing to the achievement of the objectives fixed for 2020. Also worthy of mention in this context is the consideration being given to the utility of evaluating the tie between the production of renewable energies and the satisfaction of the increase in the overall demand for energy following upon the large-scale spread of electric vehicles. In keeping with the relevant legal and regulatory considerations the policy guidelines furnished at the EU level are aimed at promoting a lowcarbon mobility based on a high level of energy efficiency and a growing use ofrenewable energy sources for energy production.The EU strategy underlines the need to pursue these objectives by way of a set ofmeasures including the development of an infrastructure network in support ofelectric mobility and the implementation of the “green cars” initiative to promote newtechnologies through a combination of research, the definition of common technicalstandards and infrastructure policies.At the national level the situation is more complex. In fact, at the present time adiscussion is taking place in parliament on two legislative initiatives dealing with thetheme of electric mobility but their fate both in respect of the actual outcome and interms of the time scales involved is still uncertain. One of the two initiatives inquestion (the so-called Ghiglia Bill) has the distinct virtue of attempting to confrontin a comprehensive manner the issue of electric vehicles by regulating concurrently 14
  15. 15. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive Summarythe components of incentivation, building, infrastructure etc, but, at the same time,it also involves a range of problems, the most important of which is the lack offinancial coverage for the planned interventions.Something that is of great interest so far as Italy is concerned are the initiatives thathave been taken up to today by the Autorità per l’Energia Electtrica e il Gas (AEEG)(Regulatory Authority for Electricity and Gas). In fact, as well as resolving a range oftechnical problems (e.g. the possibility of installing multiple recharging points inprivate buildings), the authority has sought to delineate a range of possible solutionsfor some of the major questions that need to be resolved in order to facilitate thewidespread use of electric vehicles (e.g. the organisation of recharging services, theissue of tariffs, the recharging network, the possible recourse to the use of smartgrids etc.).Finally, so far as the local/regional level is concerned, it is worth pointing out theimportant role that will be played by the protagonists of local/regional planningespecially at the moment in which there is a shift from the current pilot projects to awidespread use of electric vehicles. In fact, the positioning of public rechargingstations is also going to play a central role in orienting the choices of consumers inthe direction of electric vehicles.The environmental and local/regional context in which demand and supply are ableand will have to come together is crucial from many points of view.First of all, while the capacity of electric vehicles to eliminate from densely inhabitedareas one of the principle sources of atmospheric pollution is a definite plus, at thesame time the possibility of limiting the contribution of private transport to thegreenhouse effect will depend very much on the strategic decisions that are taken inthe electricity sector from this moment on. So far as the overall emissions of carbondioxide are concerned, given a certain combination of hypotheses that it isreasonable to make in relation to the national context, the emissions indirectlyproduced by electric vehicles would be almost half those of vehicles equipped only with an internal combustion engine (ICE). Compared with non-plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) on the other hand, vehicles that can be recharged from the electricity network would offer the opportunity to reduce polluting emissions from cities without – barring extreme scenarios involving a very high concentration of carbon – increasing CO2 emissions (even though, by the same token, they would not succeed in decreasing them to any significant extent). Turning our attention now to energy 15
  16. 16. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive Summaryefficiency, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) show themselves to be the mostcompetitive solution in a range of driving autonomy between 100 and 200kilometres, whereas for longer distances the most promising solution is offered byhydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).So far as the interface of electric vehicles with the electricity system is concerned,the problems and the opportunities inhere to a range of factors relating to thegeneration, distribution and automation of the network.From the studies that have been carried out it has emerged that the electricitygeneration system is already capable of meeting the greater demand for electricenergy necessary to render practicable the use of electric vehicles. In fact, analysingthe sales forecasts in relation to electric vehicles and comparing them with theprojections of growth in relation to electricity production from renewable sources, ithas been established that the greater demand for energy consequent upon thespread of electric mobility can be entirely satisfied by renewable energy sources.The major problems to confront relate instead to the distribution system in that atthe present time it is not sufficiently extensive to cope with the recharging of thesubstantial number of electric vehicles that will be connected up to it in the nearfuture. Indeed, if measures are not taken to incentivate recharging in periods of lowconsumption (for example at night), there will be a distinct risk of overloading thenetwork at times of major withdrawal. One alternative solution is to apply both tothe distribution networks and to the intelligent charging columns automation andremote-control systems that provide for a rational use of energy in accordance withthe quantity of power available. In this regard many studies have already beencarried out at both the national and international level and they define in a precisemanner the various functions that these automation systems will have to perform.Still to be resolved, however, is the question of the definition of common standardsfor communication between the various devices.As well as connection problems, however, electric vehicles are capable of bringingwith them a series of benefits for the electricity network. In fact, onboard batteriesconstitute a reserve of energy that can be used to make up for dips or smallinterruptions in voltage supply as well as to counter any disturbances provoked bythe variability of renewable energy sources.Finally, the social acceptance of electric mobility – in the various local contexts andon the various regional/national/international scales in which it manifests itself – willdepend on the impacts that it is seen to have on the various areas of economic andsocial life that it invests.In the first place, the growth in the role of renewable energies, which will find one ofits major outlets in the field of electric mobility, will have immense implications forthe economy as a whole. So far as employment is concerned, the sectors that will bemost involved are the bioenergy industry, the wind energy industry and the solar,photovoltaic and concentrating photovoltaic technology industry. So far as electric 16
  17. 17. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive Summaryvehicles themselves are concerned, the entire sector will enter into play. Producersof batteries will have to knock down production and sales costs while producers ofengines and vehicle mechanics will have to substitute old skills with new skills. All ofwhich means a major process of employment reconversion: the loss of old jobs andthe birth of new ones.From the point of view of the electricity network, with the development of smartgrids it is expected that it will be necessary to redesign the roles of the playersresponsible for supplying energy and managing the network in the light of the likelyemergence of a more and more widespread and increasingly complex auto-production of electricity.The role of policies in support of the development of the market and recharginginfrastructures will be crucial and it will result in significant geographical and socio-economic differentiations in the spread of electric vehicles.Finally, a very important role will be played by research and development in thepursuit of the path towards independence from energy-producing resources that arenot completely renewable.As far as the organisational and urban/regional implications of electric mobility areconcerned, the first factor to take into consideration is the specific characteristics ofthe demand for private mobility satisfied by electric vehicles. If it is true that the bulkof the demand is represented by a form of electric mobility that relies on domesticrecharging, then the more the traffic in question is concentrated in a limited numberof densely populated urban areas, the easier it will be to concentrate publicrecharging facilities around a limited number of hubs and thereby minimise the costsinvolved.Similarly, the mix between slow and fast charging options and the possibility offurther developing vehicles that provide for switching between batteries will alsocontribute to determine the design of the network, adding elements of even greatercomplexity.In these conclusions to the First Report on Sustainable Mobility we have sought tooffer a comprehensive overview of both the current state of the art of electricmobility and its prospects for development in the future. In general, we have arguedthat the future for electric vehicles is bright but at the same time we have notneglected to point out a range of problems.In order for this positive future to actually come about, however, it is essential that aseries of co-ordinated actions be taken. These include the following: reducing thecost of the vehicles, developing co-ordinated incentivation measures, providingsupport for recharging infrastructure, integrating the system of sustainable transportand the system for the production of renewable energies and re-examining thelegislation relating to CO2 emissions. A further important requirement – this beingvery keenly felt at the level of the EU – is to define a common framework of 17
  18. 18. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive Summarygovernance capable of co-ordinating national-level initiatives and rendering themsystematic within the context of a common, EU-wide strategy that guarantees themaintenance of competitive technological advantages currently threatened by therisk of fragmentation in the internal market. In this regard it is worth noting how thestrategy laid out at the EU level does not in fact limit itself to considering electricvehicles alone but also extends to vehicles powered by other innovative types of fuelcapable of contributing to common environmental objectives (biofuels, gaseous fuelsetc.). This latter point provides a pointer to the kind of integrated, strategic approachthat has been adopted as well as to the relative complexity of the models of mobilitythat can be derived from it. So far as the creation and consolidation of the electric mobility market is concerned, the most evident problem at the present time is the high cost of the electric vehicles themselves. In fact, largely because of the high cost of the battery, an electric car in Europe in particular costs twice as much as the equivalent car with an internal combustion engine. Because of this, the technological challenge universally recognised today as the most important remains the development of robust and reliable, high-power and high-energy batteries that cost at least 50% less than the currently available batteries (an objective that in point of fact can quite easily be achieved simply by exploiting economies ofscale). The other requirements considered fundamental for the spread of electricmobility are 1) the development of public recharging infrastructure, which makesavailable recharging points that are easily accessible and standardised (not least interms of being easy to locate) and 2) the realisation of experimental and pilotprojects involving fleets of vehicles so as to generate awareness, experience andconfidence on the part of consumers in the daily use of electric vehicles.Finally, our analysis of some of the major European pilot projects, carried outparticularly in relation to the development of recharging infrastructure and theincentivation that is being provided for, has highlighted the lack of co-ordinatedguidelines both at the level of individual states and at the supranational level.Especially noticeable is the heterogeneity of the models of electric mobility that havebeen introduced. These vary in terms of the infrastructures envisaged, the businessmodels proposed – at the moment purely theoretical in nature due to the fact thataccess to public structures for the provision of electricity is currently free of charge –the objectives aimed at, i.e. in terms of the extent of the spread of electric vehicles, 18
  19. 19. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive Summaryand the geographic localisation of the phenomenon be it on a national or urbanlevel.Certainly one could not claim that the contents of this first EnergyLab report onelectric mobility are exhaustive, whether it be in terms of the breadth of the enquiry(it could, for example, easily be extended to other forms of sustainable mobility) orin terms of the completeness of the coverage of the various relevant policy initiativesand/or pilot projects. Another thing that was only partially dealt with – and one thatwill definitely need to be covered more thoroughly in the future - are therelationships of interdependence between the various components that make up thefield. In fact, even though the work was conducted in a highly interdisciplinarymanner, it will be necessary to examine a certain number of relationships muchmore closely in subsequent editions of the report. Nevertheless, in spite of thesedrawbacks the results of this first attempt remain very valuable, if only for the factthat they involve an attempt2 to simultaneously take into consideration all theproblems in question. This first report is the fruit of a long series of meetingsbetween researchers and operators in the electric mobility field (many coming fromother countries) and as such it contains a rich store of information. However much itmight be improved, it indisputably constitutes a first important step towardspromoting a more sustainable mobility both in our cities and across the nation as awhole.2 The report photographs the situation as of 31st March 2011. The technological, design andexperimental evolution in the field of electric mobility is so fast that we were constrained to select aparticular date as a limit for our enquiry, entrusting to subsequent reports any treatment of theinevitable developments after that date. 19
  20. 20. The First EnergyLab Report on Electric Mobility – Executive Summary info@energylabfoundation.org www.energylabfoundation.org 20