E-mobility and evolution of charging infrastructures in Italy

The expansion of EV mobility in Europe

2020 represented an outstanding year for EV. Sales of electric cars topped more than 3 million globally, surpassing 2019 – already a record year- with 2.1 million sales.

Even more strikingly, Europe superseded China as the global driver of electric car sales in 2020 for the first time in five years, as total EV sales jumped 43% despite the COVID-19 crisis hitting overall car sales.

The EV boom in Europe started in June and July 2020, reaching the peak in December with +260 % year-over-year growth. (source: EV-volumes.com).

The European high-sales rate is surely the positive outcome of incentive boosts by green recovery funds, the 95g CO2 mandate, improved availability, intense promotion of EVs and, quite trivially, more attractive car models.

The Italian EV market

In Italy (the seventh largest European EV market), a total of 60,000 new plug-ins were sold, reaching 4.3% of the market in 2020. This represents the largest increase in EV market share in Western Europe in 2020 (+388%). BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) volumes trebled to 32,000 units (2.4% of the market) while PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) volumes quadrupled to 27,000 units (2% of the market). (source: transportenvironment.org)

What about Italian infrastructures?

An overview of the Italian situation on the current state of charging points network has been edited by Motus-E.

The number of charging systems in Italy was 9.709 at the end of 2020, for a total of 19.324 charging points. At the end of the year, 99.257 BEVs and plug-in hybrids were in circulation. During 2020, 59.875 electric cars were sold, with a huge increase compared to 2019 (17.034 electric cars retailed) or 2018 when just over 9.000 units were sold. The trend is towards a balance between plug-in and BEVs, perhaps this year already.

As those two categories need charging points, the ration between cars in circulation and charging infrastructures is significant: currently the national average amounts to 5.13 cars per charging point.

What kind of charging infrastructures have been installed?

Most of Italian public facilities are equipped with 2 charging points: the ratio of charging infrastructures and charging points amounts to an average of 1.99 at the national level. Basically, systems which can manage the simultaneous recharging of more than 2 vehicles are non-existent: almost all charging systems in Italy are double-socket isolated charging columns.

Density and territorial balance of EV Charging Infrastructures

Whereas the ratio between the typology of charging columns and the number of charging points is homogeneous all over Italy, the same cannot be said for the density of EV charging points. In fact, at a regional level, there are considerable disparities in the proportion between charging infrastructures and EV fleet in circulation: 57% of the charging infrastructures are located in Northern Italy, 23% in the Center and 20% throughout the South and the Islands.

Speed ​​of network development

The growth rate number of charging points was 41% in 2020. Though, in the same period, the increase in sales of plug-in and BEVs was as much as 251%, a growth rate 6 times higher than the one registered for public charging points. This gap should be addressed quickly and decisively, as it takes much longer to install columns than to sell vehicles. Moreover, the acceleration in building charging infrastructures should occur in North-Est Italy first, as this is the area in which it has been registered the major imbalance between EV fleet and charging points infrastructures.

Finally, although 2020 was a complex year for the entire automotive sector, data on electric car registrations showed a positive trend in Italy, which will probably replicate in 2021. The growth of electric cars in our country must be accompanied by a parallel and substantial development of the charging infrastructure and, consequently, by the adoption of dynamic software platforms to monitor and optimize charging points.