The e-mobility: the Enel X case

By November 18, 2019 No Comments

How to enhance the e-mobility through the strategic partnership with Formula E

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Decarbonisation and environmental quality in cities are driving the agenda in the broader transportation sector. There is a soaring global demand for clean energy. More than 1 billion people live without electricity, according to a UN report. Universal access to electricity is a moral duty. Since the world population is expected to increase by almost 2 billion people by 2040, this growth will mainly take place in developing countries, with a surge of 80% of global production of electricity by 2040. The trend will not depend only on the increasing demand of developing countries, but also on the huge demand of new technology, such as, for example, the increasing number of chargers in the world for smartphones, tablets, electronic cigarettes, and so on (according to Cisco, it is estimated that there will be 50 billion devices in the world by 2020). Moreover, the private and public transportation sector has a high impact and strongly affects the pollution: today, traffic-related emissions are about 60% higher than ‘90s, due to the increase in the number of vehicles. That health issue will find a dramatic solution in the e-mobility basically because of some specific reasons:

  • electric vehicles are becoming more accessible, and the governments are enhancing their large-scale production;
  • collective vehicles will make possible to share travel, it is expected they will cover more than 25% of all kilometres travelled globally by 2030 (compared to 4% today);
  • self-driving vehicles will allow a lower cost per kilometre compared to motor vehicles for personal use;
  • energy systems are becoming cleaner and more decentralised, with energy generated, stored and distributed closer to final customers.

Electric mobility is an important bridge to achieve climate goals. Any electric mobility project should be adapted to local infrastructures, energy system, and culture of mobility. An ideal model of city should give priority to high-use electric vehicles, typically taxis and public transportation that have a strong impact on carbon emissions. The development of public electric vehicles fleets should be a must together with the recharging infrastructure along the highways, as well as at the destination points and close to the public transportation hubs.

Indeed, charging a car is as simple and easy as charging a smartphone. The standard connection systems are shared worldwide: vehicles and systems communicate each other. The technological platform that connects the charging stations and operates the charging services is an intelligent tool: for example, Enel X systems use algorithms allowing to recharge at the cheapest rates according to the time slots or the availability of power in the system. The effort of Enel X has been very huge: from the 150 kW power columns that were the standard in terms of fast and ultra-fast charge, two years ago, to the 350 kW power columns that will be normal over the next few years. That will give a strong boost since charging times and autonomy are the two most important factors for the success of new generation EVs.

Enel X signed a strategic sponsorship agreement with Formula E and Moto E, and it is now Official Smart Charging Partner since it provides with the chargers used by the eleven teams of the competition and customised for them. In the technical perspective, Formula E is the perfect place to test the innovations such as the new chargers, which could be introduced even in the country’s roads in the future in order to give a real contribution to the community, with eco-friendly technology and an improved quality of life.

Technology-related macro trends are shaping an unprecedented evolution of the energy sector with decarbonisation, electrification of uses, urbanisation and digitalisation driving step changes in the uptake of renewable energies, in the design of innovative infrastructure and platforms of both grids and urban landscapes as well as in the switch to electrically-fuelled transportation. The two biggest revolutions of the 21st century are the Internet development and a progressively carbon-free global energy system (after the 2015 G7 commitment to eliminate fossil fuels by 2100). Internet of Things allowed the connection between a smartphone (or other mobile device), and other appliances, in order to send inputs to devices, equipment and other things, such as, the refrigerator, the washing machine or the lights at home, and much more. These two big revolutions can quickly converge to an Internet of Energy, that is the transformation of the way we produce, distribute and consume energy: the few large power plants could be substituted by millions of small units, such as wind turbines and solar panels. The trend should generate a new class of prosumer, who produce and consume in order to sell and buy electricity at the same time. Mobility and energy systems help each other: electric vehicles can be used as decentralised energy resources providing new storage capacity. That means cars can work as wheeled batteries. The new systems make possible electricity is supplied, stored and delivered in a cleaner, more digitised and more connected way. Thanks to this, surpluses of electricity may be exploited for different purposes. The “singularity” between technologies and energy will make possible the above-cited Internet of Energy.

The car manufacturers have the ability to drive these changes in cities, while politics the power to promote innovation through new rules. We are waiting for the final change!

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