Italy remains strongly involved in EU-level research projects on EVs, HEVs, and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). Many Italian research organizations and industries have been involved in such European projects dealing with research and demonstration of these electrically-propelled vehicles and related technologies: HCV, HELIOS, Hi-CEPS, Zero Regio, and many others.
The EU Framework Program 7 (FP7) has concentrated on various EV and HEV-related activities, including the evaluation of the impact on the electricity grid. A specific public-private partnership named “Green Cars” has been assisting short- and longer-term research activities at the EU level on electrically propelled vehicles.
The national research programs and projects with a major focus on EVs and HEV technologies and applications continue, while fuel cell vehicle research and demonstration (R&D) activity has been substantially reduced. EV and HEV research and R&D activities also remained part of some national programs which only partially address EVs and HEVs. The programs INDUSTRY 2015 and “Research for the Electrical System” include some activity on electric mobility. There has also been an effort to develop a national roadmap for research and development needs for electrical mobility.
Various entities in Italy conducting research into electric-drive and fuel cell vehicles include academia, research organizations, component and vehicle manufacturers and assemblers, electric utilities, and large fleet users. Among others, relevant research activities are carried out by ENEA, the National Council of Research (CNR), various universities (e.g., Bologna, Camerino, Genoa, Milan, Rome, Turin, and others), and industry (e.g., FIAT, IVECO, Ansaldo Electric Drives, Breda Menarini, Piaggio, Eldor, Micro-vett, FIAMM, FAAM, Magneti Marelli, and STMicroelectronics).
Italian Electrified Mobility Technological Platform
A National Platform for the Electric Mobility was started in 2010 with the participation of about 100 stakeholders (industries, research organizations, and academia) with the scope of elaborating a strategy and long-term actions. The Italian Electrified Mobility Platform aims to proactively define the innovation needs for effective urban mobility, to help Italian industry provide new products and national infrastructures, and to coordinate European national efforts. The plan would be implemented over the next 5 to 10 years.
INDUSTRY 2015 Project in Sustainable Mobility
The INDUSTRY 2015 project launched in 2008 to fund industrial innovations and reached fully operational status in 2010. At the end of 2010, 29 projects involving a variety of technologies in the transport sector were finally approved and granted with a total budget in excess of €450 million, of which about €180 million came from public funding. The topics of individual three-year projects include the electrification of vehicles of different sizes, ranging from 2-wheeled vehicles up to public transport buses.
The LIVE project is coordinated by IVECO, one of the largest European manufacturers of heavy-duty vehicles and commercial vans. The project involves the development of light-duty transport vehicles with different drivetrains, including one with a hybrid configuration. The total budget is close to €31 million.
This project, coordinated by Breda Menarini, aims at developing and validating an innovative approach to public buses, integrating them into a complete transport system. Electric buses are charged at stations during each temporary stop using fast storage systems (supercapacitors or high-power batteries). The total budget is close to €12 million.
The MUSS project, coordinated by Piaggio, one of the leading manufacturers of scooters and motorbikes, aims at clean and safe small vehicles, also using electric and hybrid drivetrains. The total budget is close to €21 million.