Different types of initiatives support the introduction of EVs and HEVs in Italy: legislation, regulations, standards, promotions, and demonstrations. Most of these initiatives are the result of a growing interest by electric utilities in analyzing market prospects and the potential impact of EVs on the electricity grid.
There have been some ongoing and prospective legislative initiatives to support research and the introduction of EVs and HEVs involving several ministries (Economic Development, Environment, Research, and Transport) and the parliament. Some dedicated standards for HEVs and related components (e.g., rechargeable lithium battery applications and supercapacitors) also have been initiated by the national standard-setting bodies as part of an international effort promoted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrochemical Commission (IEC).
Other measures indirectly support the use of EVs. In 2010, the central government committed financial resources to support renewable energy plant installations, because of the strong commitment of Italy in reaching the overall European Union targets established for 2020 on energy efficiency, renewable energy share, and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction.
Two proposed laws to support the uptake of HEVs and EVs were prepared in 2009 and 2010 and are currently being examined. The first proposed law (n. 2844: Measures to favor the development of mobility by using vehicles without CO2 emissions) was aimed at subsidizing purchase of these vehicles through installing vehicle battery charging infrastructure and other specific incentives. These incentives included zero property tax on the HEVs and EVs, lower taxes on electricity, free circulation in restricted urban areas, and free parking in reserved parking lots. A small tax on plastic bottles is proposed to cover the financial needs for all the initiatives.
The second proposed law (n. 3553: Measure for the realization of infrastructure aimed at assisting the broad introduction of EVs) is a policy and strategy document stating general rules for integrating charging infrastructure for EVs into any governmental and regional strategy addressing the health impact of noxious emissions and diversification of energy sources. This approach would also support pursuing European Union targets for atmospheric emissions and clean vehicle introductions. Furthermore, the possible introduction of EV charging infrastructure must be considered in various types of initiatives: renewal of roads, research and innovation, promotion of industrial sectors, and innovation in buildings. The law proposal also includes the governmental preparation of a National EV Infrastructure Plan that would create the conditions and possible funding schemes for various installations of charging points.
In 2010, the Italian Authority for Electrical Energy and Gas (AEEG) enacted regulatory simplifications and a general analysis of the problems related to the introduction of EVs and their relation to the electricity grid. The first regulatory action has been the removal of restrictions on private sector introductions of dedicated electrical meters for charging EVs. Furthermore, the early EV market will be helped through new regulations for experimental demonstrations aimed at verifying business models and various EV and infrastructure technologies. A set of general rules has been defined for the services of transmission, dispatch, distribution, and electrical energy measurement for each EV charging point. These rules will be applied in six pilot demonstration projects to run during 2011, pending agreement between AEEG and service providers.
The increasing commitment and interest of the large industrial sector in EVs can be measured by the growth in standardization activities for various technologies: vehicles, lithium batteries, and charging stations. Different standardization bodies have been active during 2010 in supporting international standard development, such as CUNA for the vehicle and battery module and systems at ISO level, and the Italian Electrotechnical standardization body CEI for the battery cell and charging stations at CENELEC and IEC level.
Apart from some international standards in advanced preparation stage (not discussed here), there have also been attempts to propose temporary solutions to the lack of current international standards. In particular, CIVES (the Italian EV Association, an internal committee of CEI) has organized workshops and participates in the analysis of infrastructure needs and charging limitations. The experimental standard CEI 312-1 Safety requirements for charging stations for electric road vehicles was introduced in 2010 to support the start of some demonstration projects and to assure adequate safety in using charging stations.
The international and national economic crisis impacted national clean vehicle initiatives more than those in regions, provinces, and many municipalities. These local governments were able to support clean vehicles through European, national, and industrial funding for projects supporting the environment and energy diversification. Major metropolitan areas (e.g., Rome, Milan, Turin, Genoa, and Florence) defined plans in which cleaner vehicles could play a significant role. The financial support for the purchase of EVs and the creation of dedicated charging infrastructures have been proposed in a variety of municipalities, often in conjunction with the definition of promotional and protective measures to limit or ban the circulation of more polluting vehicles.