Italy: EVs market: data, facts, hopes & real perspectives.

Production of electrified vehicles is gearing up all over the world, and automakers are planning to launch an increasing variety of new models over the next few years.

As announced since 2008 and confirmed with the presentations of dozen of electric concept cars in all main world wide Motor Shows, Electric Vehicles development has obtained a large share of carmakers investment budget for next years.

The first mass vehicle designed as EV was the Nissan Leaf. It was introduced in the market in the 2011, with great success among the press (voted Car Of The Year), and launched in a selected number of US States, with all available production sold in advance (20.000 units). This year the Leaf has been introduced in Europe, with a great success in Norway, thanks to a favorable legislation, while demand in the other countries does not exist.

Looking at the Italian car market, we can start from the numbers of EVs sold on a Ytd basis in April this year, very small numbers, while expectation is for an increase over the next months (we are talking about 0,03% of the Ytd April car sold in the Italian market).

Increasing fuel costs, government purchase incentives, increasing fuel economy standards and increased vehicle availability will benefit both segments of electric vehicles to varying degrees.

Here below table of car sold this year:

Brand

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Ytd

Peugeot I.on

13

10

13

7

43

Citroen C Zero

21

13

6

14

54

Nissan Leaf

0

0

6

16

22

Smart Fortwo

19

5

3

1

28

Renault Fluence

1

0

0

5

6

Mitsubishi i-miev

3

0

1

1

5

Fiat Qubo

0

0

1

0

1

Think City

0

0

0

1

1

Total

57

28

30

45

160

In the near-term future, the market penetration of EVs will remain fairly low compared to conventional vehicles. The estimation based on several government announcements, industry capacities and proliferation projects sees more than five million new Electric Vehicles on the road globally until 2015 (excluding two and three wheelers), the majority of these in the European Union.

The main markets for Electric Vehicles will be, in order of importance, the European Community, the US and Asia (China and Japan). Some further target markets like Israel and the Indian subcontinent are also expected to evolve.

One of the key barriers to the uptake of EVs is the purchase cost of vehicles. The issue is the battery cost, which is the most significant influence on the overall vehicle price. Battery costs are currently high, and are largely determined by the cost of the electrode materials with a contribution from development, production and shipping.

The scenarios for uptake of EVs should be as follows:

  • Uptake of EVs will be very limited without upfront price support
  • Even under the more optimistic scenarios EVs are unlikely to reach mass production (defined at 100,000 units sold) until the early 2020’s.
  • Achieving high levels of EV uptake will require a high degree of cooperation between local and national Government. Softer, local measures such as access to bus lanes, free parking and the provision of a widespread charging infrastructure will be need alongside central Government initiatives such as upfront price support.
  • The launch of advanced diesels will affect the uptake of EVs in the short to medium term.
  • However, advanced diesels will only be able to reduce GHG emissions so far. The deepest cut in transport GHG emissions can only be achieved by EVs.

As far as Italy is concerned, EVs have still not very widespread, but until now there are only 5 pilot projects for the granting of 1.000 new recharging places in Rome, Milan, Naples, Bari, Catania, Genoa, Bologna, Perugia, in some municipalities in Emilia Romagna and Lombardy and at certain bigger supermarkets. Among them, the main projects are:

  • The e-Mobility project, where Daimler is supplying and maintaining 140 electric vehicles for the Italian market project. Enel is developing, creating and operating an infrastructure of some 400 dedicated recharging points and its central control system. The three cities selected for the project – Rome, Milan and Pisa – ideally represent different Italian lifestyles and ways of living;
  • the e-Moving project, where the French carmaker Renault and the Italian utility firm A2A will make 60 EVs (including the Renault Fluence Z.E. and the Renault Kangoo Z.E.) available to rent for testing the 270 dedicated recharging points in Milano and Brescia;

Long street to be built up as well as more consumer education is required – along with an accelerated development of this new technology.

We thanks the Author of this articles. Prof. Fabio Rosati.

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