In May, 2021, the Italian government announced its National Recovery and Resilience Plan (often referred to as PNRR). This is, essentially, a roadmap for the country to recover from the global pandemic. It involves, among other things, the European Union funding of approximately 200 billion Euros to aid in the process. As more countries look toward the future of transport, the Italian government is making serious plans to transition to more sustainable fuel sources, including renewable wind-generated electricity, as well as hydrogen power.
In a virtual talk hosted by Italian electric mobility association Motus-E, Italy’s minister of ecological transition, Roberto Cingolani, spoke at length about the many challenges and avenues of opportunity his department is currently exploring. Since the transition is an ongoing one, and not a simple thing where you can just switch from gasoline to electric power for vehicles by pressing a button, there are many facets that must be considered.
Before we dive into some of those considerations, though, it’s important to note that Cingolani said that his department plans to announce Italy’s strategy for EV infrastructure no later than September, 2021. Currently, his department is exploring more than one path forward. He said it’s likely that he’ll publicly discuss one of the plans as early as July. However, he said, there are a lot of moving parts in play that need consideration.
Of course, infrastructure for alternative sources of energy is a challenge that Italy intends to overcome. Generating electric power in ways that are not, themselves, harmful to the environment, is one part of the solution. Solar and wind power—and also developing supportive Italian and European industries to support photovoltaic energy—can help. Hydrogen—and developing the support industry around it—is another avenue, as well.
Building out charging stations and getting Italy on track to beat back range anxiety is another prong. Encouraging Italian innovation and industrial growth in battery development for EVs, so global supply chains are more decentralized, is yet another piece in the puzzle. The transition is a complex and effortful process, and one that requires a lot of clear-eyed strategy if it’s going to move forward in the best possible way.
Cingolani was just one of the speakers at Motus-E's “Electric Mobility for a Sustainable Future” online event. You can view the entire thing here on YouTube, but be aware that it’s entirely in Italian. Cingolani is the first speaker, if you only want to watch his portion.