Electric cars: challenges and opportunities for the new mobility

The automotive sector is undergoing a sudden and radical transformation both at the level productive it off services related to mobility. Our country, like the whole of Europe, is called upon to make important and long-term strategic choices for the future, accompanied by an important investment in the form of monetary resources and more.

Cars and technology, increasingly connected sectors: the new scenarios

In this context, the recent “EY Electric Vehicle Global Readiness Index” study of the main markets in the e-mobility sector clearly shows how The automotive industry and electric mobility are at the heart of the agenda in major European countries and how there is still a strong discrepancy among them in terms of strategies, investments and maturity of the whole ecosystem.

According to the study, China, Sweden and Germany rank in the Top 3 of the leading nations in the electrical breakthrough. Among the “aspiring” leadership positions, on the other hand, are countries such as the United Kingdom, South Korea and the United States, which in recent times have seen important investments and commitments also from policy makers (eg incentives, petrol bans, …) the growth in demand starts and promotes the creation of a self-sustaining system.

The 3 key factors in the leading eMobility countries

The 3 key factors in the leading eMobility countries:

  • Huge public / private efforts in the development of a production ecosystem and as integrated a supply chain as possible as a basis for a competitive and cost advantage;
  • a greater propensity among consumers approaching a possible purchase / consideration of a BEV / PHEV electric vehicle;
  • an important governmental and political stimulus combined with legislative action and at the same time incentives and support measures for companies and more generally the mobility ecosystem.

Italians and sustainable mobility

Our country, on the other hand, ranks among the “followers” nations along with Japan, Canada and India, where some factors, such as the presence of an industrial chain that is already at an advanced stage of conversion to electricity, infrastructure and the market yet is not ripe as it is for leading countries today.

What are the 9 concrete examples of sustainable mobility that already exist in the world?

Despite the delay that our country has accumulated compared to other “early adopters” nations of e-mobility, in recent months there has been a great deal of attention at national level towards green issues, also due to the effects of Covid-19- the pandemic, which has changed travel habits and consumer perception. A recent EY analysis shows how the Italian consumer is ready for the transition to electric mobility and especially to the possible choice of BEV and PHEV vehicles for the next car. The reasons for this choice can be traced both to monetary and non-proposed government incentives and to a growing environmental awareness in public opinion.

Compared with sustainable mobility54% of the interviewed sample, which is about to change car within the next three years, would be oriented towards hybrid (43%) or electric (11%) models. 20% of the sample shows openness to new ownership formulas (eg long-term lease) and new buying methods proposed by car manufacturers. Among the reasons given in support of the preference of consumers of hybrid or electric, stand out the lifestyle that is aware of the environment (43%), the possibility of accessing the city center and ZTL (35%), stand out over the lower cost per. kilometers / maintenance (33%) and financial incentives to buy (30%).

This photograph clearly places Italy as one of the countries that will need a strong acceleration in the coming years for the development of the eMobility sector with huge challenges but at the same time important opportunities to be seized.

The industrial challenges of eMobility

The process of decarbonization in transportation is destined to be one of the most important levers to tackle climate change. To achieve this ambitious goal, the idea of ​​an efficient, interconnected, competitive and sustainable ecosystem cannot be ignored. The challenges facing our country relate to all areas from the industrial to the social sphere, and pass through services related to the world of e-mobility.

In terms of industrial challenges, the watchwords are development and innovation. In recent decades, Italy has been a reference player with Germany in the automotive sector with a first-rate leadership in the related industries, especially for the supply of components and mechanical parts (eg parts for the powertrain, chassis, brakes) with world-renowned industrial companies. The advent of the electric car distorts the current paradigms that the related companies are called to one conversion made not only of machinery and equipment, but primarily of processes, tools, human resources and skills. Our country needs to find its new leadership space in the e-mobility ecosystem, aiming for a primary role in the production or research and development chain. This is certainly a challenge, primarily at a time level, as investing in innovation involves long periods of time in the transition to large-scale production of technologies and products.

Looking at the citizen instead is the real challenge cultural change in the approach to mobility, exploitation of new models (eg MaaS, Sharing, Servitization) that require traditional actors in mobility and services to play a leading role in training and accompanying people to the new paradigm of electric.

The role of service providers

Service providers are one of the possible options for mobility if they want to be able to develop with it in the near future. In fact, the high spread of the current market for mobility services does not contribute to an improvement of the customer experience and more generally represents a strong barrier to access to the e-mobility world in general. This factor, which is often underestimated in the analysis of the electric mobility adoption curve, is actually crucial. The amalgamation of the sector into major players can in this sense represent a facilitator and perhaps one of the truly greatest enables of mass adoption in our country.

Finally, we can not yet say that the phase of creating an infrastructure capable of supporting the growth of electric mobility has been completed. In particular, progress in the development and commercialization of electric vehicles or systems must go hand in hand with strengthening an adequate infrastructure network at European and not just national level.

Conclusions

What is needed at the country level is therefore the definition of one long-term strategy, aimed at the development of the industrial districts of the automotive industry. Just to give a few examples, they can be the component manufacturing rod in the northwest, the Motor Valley and related industries in Emilia-Romagna or companies that are already leaders in specific heat stamping technologies for metals for the construction of car chassis …

The key can be efficient use of the resources expected in the coming years which can be a driving force for the implementation of the sector’s strategic development plan. The goal is therefore accelerate growth through the three pillars on which this change can rest:

  • incentives for cooperation and cooperation within sectors between sectors related to sustainable mobility;
  • development of new skills in accordance with market requirements;
  • support for research and development activities directly through incentives and indirectly by favoring debureaucratisation and specific times and rules.

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