The future of electric car charging is on demand

The future of electric car charging is on demand

By 2030, there will be six million electric vehicles. To power them, it is necessary to go beyond the charging stations and use mobile solutions such as that of the Italian E-Gap

Electric car (Red Dot on Unsplash) Another way to recharge electric cars, compatible, alternative and complementary to that more widespread than recharging connected directly to the electricity grid. The Politecnico di Milano has carried out a study for E-Gap to analyze the pros and cons of the types of recharging (on-grid, i.e. connected to the electricity grid, and off-grid, i.e. not connected to the grid but through other forms). It is a necessary challenge, in which there is a strong piece of Made in Italy. Because electric mobility is no longer in question. The problem is to accelerate as fast as possible to reach it.

In 2030 there will be 6 million electric vehicles in Italy, in 2035 the European Commission aims to block the sale of cars with internal combustion engines. Europe has challenging environmental objectives: to reduce CO 2 emissions by 55% by 2030, while registrations of electric cars grow. There are 60 thousand in 2020 and in the first four months of 2021 we have already exceeded the threshold of 40 thousand vehicles. There are investments in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Pnrr) (60 billion euros). But if the goal is clear, it is less so how to achieve it.

Technologies to free the grid

It is also a problem of technologies: how to manage the distribution grid when electric cars increase? The problem is not the network capacity but the spikes. "Italy - says Stefano Saglia member of the Arera college during the conference organized by E-Gap, an Italian company for off-grid electric charging - is one of the European countries that has one of the most effective distribution and transport networks in Europe. The electric, however, questions our certainties ". The problem is the peaks, and more.

“There are three problems for the electric car - says Gaetano Thorel, European head of Fiat Abarth for Stellantis - namely the price, the range and the ease of charging. For the first two we producers have done a lot. But the anxiety of recharging, that is, the ease with which a column is found, requires a systematic approach. The fact that there can be multiple modes together, on-grid or off-grid, in our opinion is the right answer. With on-demand recharging, we reach the capillarity that we lack, as well as Spain and Greece, with respect to the recharging infrastructures of northern Europe ".

According to Vittorio Chiesa of the Milan Polytechnic, the current dominant solution on-grid has limitations, as well as advantages: “It requires connection to the network, it has little flexibility with respect to the evolution of technologies and workloads”. The off-grid, according to the Polytechnic study, is a tool that "allows to reduce grid peaks, as well as making charging solutions more flexible and mobile".

Investment made in Italy

"The central point is precisely this, the off-grid", says Eugenio de Blasio, president and founder of E-Gap, the first manufacturer of mobile columns in the world, born four years ago with capital and for totally Italian initiative, 40 Italian engineers and with an evolution that will take it beyond Rome and Milan to Turin, Bologna and Florence by the end of this year and to Paris and Madrid in 2022. "The off-grid is adequate to carry out energy from the grid and accompany the growth in the energy needs of electric cars, which will become more and more powerful over the years. There is a transition taking place and we need to help it ", he says.

One of the problems, however, is that" the last mile "does not develop in a balanced way. The public electric charging system in Italy, mainly on-grid, makes use of more than 19 thousand charging points, in about 10 thousand public stations. About 57% of the infrastructures are located in Northern Italy, about 23% in the Center and only 20% in the South and islands. However, the financing of new projects is almost exclusively aimed at on-grid solutions. And this is a problem, according to de Blasio.

The transition to electricity also has an important role and an impact that is not only economic but also social. As also said by Senator Salvatore Margiotta, group leader of the Public Works Commission, and Senator Alessandra Gallone, group leader of the Environment Commission. "The automotive sector, understood as industry, trade, commercial part, fuel distribution, is one of the main sectors of the Italian economy - says the Deputy Minister for Economic Development Gilberto Pichetto Fratin -. A sector that represents 20% of GDP, about 350 billion euros, and 1 million and 250 thousand workers and is the leading manufacturing sector in the country ".

What to do and above all how to do to transform this huge and strategic, as well as socially so relevant? "My wish - said Pichetto Fratin - is now to accompany the transformation from the thermal engine to the electric one qualitatively as well as socially, because this will lead to a series of corporate restructuring in many of the automotive sectors, in particular that of engines ". A transformation that passes from relevant technological choices, such as that of the balance between on-grid and off-grid charging.

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