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Reinova takes active part in “INNOVATION DAYS 2022”, the initiative organised by the il Sole 24 Ore newspaper on digitalization and sustainability

Reinova takes active part in “INNOVATION DAYS 2022”, the initiative organised by the il Sole 24 Ore newspaper on digitalization and sustainability

The roadshow dedicated to Emilia-Romagna businesses was opened by Fabio Storchi, President of Unindustria, Reggio Emilia, who had the honour of starting by talking about digital and ecological transition strategies. In Storchi’s opinion, despite the precarious and difficult geopolitical situation that Italia and the entire world are currently facing, due both to the pandemic and to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, process innovation and digitalization remains a fundamental factor for the recovery and consolidation of the productive fabric on a large scale.

Emilia-Romagna is still typically made up of small and medium very specialised enterprises which require dedicated services, a network of laboratories and entities specialised in technological transfer that offer companies instruments for achieving a greater awareness of their know-how, and which also offer, at reduced costs, the possibility of accessing technological innovation, both digital and with regards to economic and environmental sustainability.

The discussion of the second panel of the day was dedicated to sustainable mobility and to initiatives for supporting it: Giuseppe Corcione, CEO of Reinova, together with Valentina Orioli, Bologna City Councillor for Mobility and Alberto Viano, CEO of LeasePlan were present for this part.

Our CEO Giuseppe Corcione presented Reinova as a laboratory, an authentic incubator able to accompany clients in the sustainable transformation of modern means of transport and mobility. This must start from the current situation where, in fact, an industrial vision of a mobility culture, intended as a service for moving people, is missing. What are needed are suitable integrated digital solutions to drive consumer electronics in the interactions between people and the various choices of means of transport available. Notwithstanding the three characteristics of the vehicles of the near future (electric, connected and self-driven), it’s necessary to establish different dedicated solutions according to different transport needs. Hydrogen, for example, is simply a different battery energy carrier for all-electric traction, but with much higher energy efficiency compared to almost any other type of traditional motorization, diesel or petrol. The future development of solid-state batteries could be a further step, very important for electric traction, as could large capacitors also be.

Giuseppe Corcione also stated that “vehicle ownership will change”: we will travel, almost certainly, with shared means, from electric scooters to bicycles to car sharing, with public cars available for private use. The evolution of mobility will go towards dedicated means depending on the type of demand and the transport that the client needs. In addition, he affirmed that clients need to be accompanied in the adoption of sustainable solutions, not only from an environmental pointy of view, regarding gas emissions, but also from the point of view of noise and economic sustainability. Thanks to the innovation of digital technology, it will be possible to develop public transport on request, with “on demand” vehicles.

Self-driven cars will make people freer: Giuseppe Corcione gave the example of Giacosa, the designer of the historic Fiat 500, which gave numerous Italians the possibility of moving in freedom from point A to point B. Today moving around by car is often effectively a constraint, reducing freedom, given the limits of parking space and access to restricted zones in today’s cities. The self-driven car will give back free time to people who can then decide if to invest it in work or enjoy it with leisure activities and more rest. The technology of the self-driven car will be at the service of people.

It was then the turn of the CEO of LeasePlan, the company in the long-term hire sector, Alberto Viano, who presented the latest edition of LeasePlan’s research at European level, the “Electric Vehicle Readiness Index”, published a few days before, which shows how the growth in the circulation of electric cars increasingly points to a shortage of charging stations throughout Europe. With regards to Italy, the results for charging infrastructures are once more somewhat disappointing: Italy is at third-to-last position, and for the circulating fleet of electric cars it has climbed from 15th to 14th place.

With regards to electric mobility, the long-term rental market is making a significant contribution, with electric and hybrid plug-in cars accounting for more than 48% of sales contracts.

The contribution of the Bologna City Councillor was also very interesting: urban micro-mobility will be increasingly supported, promoting the use of modern cargo-bikes, with the characteristic of being agile and energetically efficient with zero emission. The development of this new market of vehicles could give rise to new opportunities for Emilia-Romagna businesses.

Finally, Giuseppe Corcione emphasised that, despite the current geopolitical context, it’s very important not to stop, but to incentivise a business energy “revolution” in order to compete at European level, considering this situation as a real opportunity for change and improvement, reducing energy costs through efficiency and the elimination of waste.

In this context, in which the charging infrastructure is extremely important for the spread of mobility with zero direct emissions, Reinova operates as a strategic consultant for making the right choice, supporting the needs and main economic activities of its partners.

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Reinova and Social Self Driving present the first model of autonomous and semi-autonomous driving

Reinova and Social Self Driving present the first model of autonomous and semi-autonomous driving

Reinova, the new center of excellence dedicated to the development and validation of components for the electric and hybrid powertrain, and Social Self Driving, an Italian startup of Eng. Luigi Mazzola, presented the first revolutionary model of autonomous and semi-autonomous driving.

The presentation, which took place at Reinova’s plant in Soliera (MO), was an opportunity to show the press and stakeholders a preview of the POC Proof Of Concept created by Reinova and Social Self Driving, the first advanced technological system capable of recording the driver’s driving style and reproducing it on autonomous and semi-autonomous cars. In this way, driverless cars will be able to move with an ever-changing style chosen by the user, reproducing the emotional as well as the dynamic part of the vehicle.

Autonomous and semi-autonomous driving represents a very important potential market for the automotive sector in the near future, as witnessed by numerous authoritative market analyses that foresee, in the next few years, a global diffusion of these cars, also electrically powered. The inauguration of this first model, by Reinova and Social Self Driving, is a signal and a confirmation that the Motor Valley is at the forefront of extremely innovative projects related to the automotive world.

Eng. Giuseppe Esposito Corcione, CEO & Co-founder Reinova, says: “We have made the motto – Innovation meets Creativity – one of the mantras of Reinova to push the limits of what exists and is visible before our eyes. We are imagining a connected, shared and safe world by combining the highest forms of technology and artificial intelligence with the passion, creativity and winning spirit of the Motor Valley. Less than a year after the inauguration of Reinova we add another piece, that of autonomous driving, to the strategic plan of Reinova. We are ready to lead this further challenge, always with a view to creating the mobility of the future that is sustainable, connected, shared, safe and with real time updates. The Social Self Driving project represents the synthesis of this important technological challenge. Today we can say that what was just an idea a few months ago is now a concrete and technologically sustainable project. We make self-driving vehicles a passion in motion, recording, replicating and optimizing driving styles through objective indicators (KPIs) and the use of the most advanced machine learning techniques.”

Eng. Luigi Mazzola, CTO & Co-Founder Social Self Driving, already a pioneer on semi-autonomous and autonomous car driving, says: “A few months have passed since the creation of the start-up Social Self Driving and many things have happened. The most important is to have determined an algorithm that uniquely defines the driving style of any driver of old and new generation cars. We were able to create what is at the core of our idea: record, drive and share your driving style. We have defined a partnership with Reinova (Social Self Driving powered by Reinova) that helps us in this real technological challenge. Through a survey carried out in collaboration with an important Italian university, we have seen how enthusiastically a heterogeneous population has accepted our idea. It can certainly be said that anticipation has already been created. Finally, a very precise process has been identified, thanks also to the help of other companies, which guarantees us the feasibility of our idea in a short time. Full steam ahead and towards a new concept of fun in the automotive world.”

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High energy bills for companies: photovoltaic power as an energy strategy with modest costs

High energy bills for companies: photovoltaic power as an energy strategy with modest costs

The Italian government is promoting renewable energy sources in public buildings, providing they install photovoltaic panels and reduce the pressure on overall national energy consumption, leaving supplies, especially of methane gas, for industrial and more strategic use where it’s impossible to reduce or convert consumptions using local and renewable sources.  

The current and future scenario

In Europe the photovoltaic scenario is clear, having reached a new record in 2021: the European Union, in fact, added 25.9 GW of new solar capacity installed in just 12 months, with an increase of 34% compared to 2020. According to prudent estimates, the European solar stock could double in the next 4 years, bringing the total installed capacity to 327.6 GW as soon as 2025, compared to the current 164.9 GW.

This is the ranking of countries which have installed most photovoltaic panels in 2020 and 2021, in Europe. Germany installed the most, along with Spain, Holland, Poland, France, Greece, Denmark, Hungary, Italy and Sweden (source: SolarPower Europe).

Germany is confirmed as the country with the most installations producing energy from the sun, with a total of around 60 GW 715 W per capita. Italy, second in the European classification, but still a long way behind Germany, has a total of around 22 GW installed, but only 364 W per capita, and for this parameter is at tenth place in the European classification by country.

Summing up, in the total production of photovoltaic energy already installed up to 2021, in absolute terms, Italy is in second place in the EU, behind Germany. In the weighted per capita ranking, however, it is behind the Netherlands, which is first with 765 W/capita (reached in 2021), Germania with 715 W/capita and Belgium with 596 W/capita.

Critical aspects of Italy

Italy has a number of critical areas: according to SolarPower Europe, in the medium-term, for the next few years, until the end of 2025, in Germany the growth in photovoltaic power will continue to surge, expecting to reach the record figure of around 50 MW in only 4 years, while Italy risks installing only 7 MW of new panels. In 2020, Italy installed only 0.6 MW and in 2021 0.8 MW of new photovoltaic power.

If SolarPower Europe’s forecast scenarios prove to be correct, Italy will fall in the classification of total photovoltaic energy production and could be overtaken in the next few years by Spain and Holland, and pursued by emerging France. Poland and Denmark are also set to progress very well in the next few years.

As already reported in our Blog post of 12 April 2022, the golden year of photovoltaic energy in Italy was 2011, with an installed power, in only 12 months, of a little under 10 GW, a truly exceptional figure which optimistically must be seen as an achievable  objective also in the next few years.

Optimistically, it’s to be hoped that our country, able to achieve the extraordinary performance of 2011, is equally able to reconfirm its exceptional dynamism and capacity for growth, managing to exceed even the best forecasts.

At the level of the EU’s policy strategies, it should be said that, until and including 2020, Italy demonstrated an acceptable level of installation and use of renewable sources, with 20.4% of gross consumption, exceeding European Community targets, not reached to the same degree by France, with 19.1%.

Measures for businesses

The Italian Government needs to propose measures that lighten the weight of heavy energy bills for energy-intensive industries and which concretely stimulate private investments over the next few years so as to enable strategic price controls for the stability of energy costs. This will be achieved through the self-consumption of renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaic and wind power, which are easy to install in an effective and efficient way on large-size industrial areas and on the roofs of industrial buildings.

Thanks to the PNRR, an allocation of 1.1 billion euros for agri-voltaic systems is expected, which should contribute to both electricity production and the optimization of the irradiation of surfaces intended for certain types of crops.

As already mentioned, Italy is also a long way behind other European countries with regards to electricity storage which, combined with photovoltaic and wind power, could support an effective energy transition and the replacement of non-renewable fossil fuels in the production of electricity.

It will be extremely important for the Italian Government to continuously monitor the progress of measures to support renewable energy so as to urgently intervene, when necessary, with executive and legislative changes.

Conclusions

In Italy the 110% fiscal bonus scheme has triggered high demand for photovoltaic systems, but bureaucracy and the necessary public permits have so far led to disappointing concrete results in terms of new photovoltaic systems installed in Italy. Delays of up to 6 years are estimated, and the current Government is seeking to limit bureaucratic timeframes to 2 years.

A reduction of bureaucratic procedures is certainly needed for renewable sources in Italy, not only for environmental reasons, to limit climate change and smog, but also for possible strategic benefits, energy independence and price stabilisation, necessary at this time of crisis in supplies of methane gas, which is arriving at extremely high levels due to the geopolitical conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The good results achieved by other European countries must optimistically lead to planning and action for similar projects for photovoltaic energy in Italy.

Reinova once more proves to be a technologically innovative enterprise, also in the production of photovoltaic energy, with panels installed in record time on its roof in Soliera. Reinova can follow its partners in their development of the self-production and self-consumption of photovoltaic electricity, as part of the ecological transition.

English glossary

NECP – National Energy Climate Plans

PV – Photo Voltaic

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Circular economy: the reuse and recycling of batteries for electric vehicles

Circular economy: the reuse and recycling of batteries for electric vehicles

One of the most discussed aspects of the transition to electric mobility is the environmental impact of the production of electric batteries, from the extraction of the raw materials to the disposal of the individual cells used in electric vehicles.

Current battery packs are, in fact, composed of various types of decomposable cells, typically similar to AA batteries in terms of dimensions and cylinder type. This decomposable structure allows for easier repair of battery packs since it’s possible to replace cells that don’t work properly, extracting only the piece which is damaged or is underperforming. This system, therefore, has concrete environmental and economic benefits since it makes it possible to restore the battery pack without necessarily having to replace it completely.

After years of experimentation, battery cells can today be dismounted from the original vehicle pack and be reused for static and less demanding applications than those required for automotive mobility, but which are still useful for the stabilization of the electricity grid, being perfectly complementary with and serving discontinuous renewable energy sources (like photovoltaic and wind power).

There are a number of virtuous examples of cell reuse in Italy. At Fiumicino, Enel X is installing a new BESS*-type storage station in partnership with the company, ADR S.p.A., Aeroporti di Roma. The storage system in Fiumicino will be composed of reused cells – coming from battery packs of electric cars – at 10 MWh and combined with a 30 MW photovoltaic installation. The objective is to make the Airport’s energy consumption more efficient and less polluting and in this way contribute both to drastically reducing the polluting emissions of the Roman airport and to curbing its energy dependence, with protection from unpredictable tariff increases.

BATTERY RECYCLING

With regards to the recycling of exhausted batteries, it is worth referring to another interesting development. The Swedish company, Northvolt (Sweden) – the third biggest battery producer in Europe (with a total of around 16 GWh) – aims to secure second place through the development of batteries with 92 GWh.

With its recycling programme called Revolt, Northvolt effectively plans to recover 125,000 tonnes of battery cells and has announced that it has succeeded in developing the first NMC battery through the use of recycled raw materials.

TECHNICAL RESULTS OF THE RECYCLING

The Swedish company has declared that the electrochemical performances of the cells constructed with recycled raw materials appear to be similar to those of cells made with virgin raw materials, that is, extracted directly from mine deposits. The recycling process developed with the Revolt programme is based on a low-energy hydrometallurgical treatment and uses a water-based solution to isolate the metals and separate them from impurities. An ecological, energetically and economically sustainable recycled cell for batteries would be produced from this process. The advantages of the Revolt project would allow for a recovery of 95% of the metals present in a battery, maintaining a level of purity equal to that of normal new raw materials used for producing cells.

In addition, alongside the Revolt recovery programme, the Northvolt parent company is committed to produce its cells with 50% of recycled raw materials.

CONCLUSIONS

The ecological transition and the conversion of mobility towards the electrification of vehicles, as well as the technological challenge of developing new solutions, is an industrial opportunity for making the entire life-cycle of the vehicle, including the batteries, less costly, less polluting and more efficient.

The reuse and recycling of the precious raw materials with which battery cells are produced is a priority; with the current difficulties of the supply of raw materials form distant countries, no resources can, and must not, be wasted. Reinova – the Motor Valley centre of excellence for tests and validations to support in the development of electric mobility – is ready with its technical support and consultancy services to accept the challenge and contribute to the construction of more sustainable electric components, in line with the need to develop more innovative products and more efficient production processes.

GLOSSARY

*BESS = Battery Energy Storage System

**NMC = Nickel, Manganese and Cobalt

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Photovoltaic energy: a natural source on which to firmly focus

Photovoltaic energy: a natural source on which to firmly focus

Photovoltaic energy is a veritable bottom-up revolution because it decentralises what has always been a production dominated by power plants of considerable size and investment.

The latest data made available by Terna, showing that photovoltaic technology is characterised by widespread distribution throughout the national territory, also near to users, both on roofs of dwellings and on industrial buildings. 

It’s very interesting to note how photovoltaic technology has rendered obsolete conventional thermoelectric (gas, coal or oil-powered) and nuclear power station projects, that is plants with a high environmental impact, typical of the last century.

Until 2011, Italy experienced a significant growth in the production of photovoltaic electricity. The country was one of the main producers in the world of energy generated from solar panels. The surge in installations in Italy until 2011 gives hope today for similar possible optimistic scenarios also over the next few years.

There’s been a lull in Italy for around 10 years from 2022 to today, a lacklustre development in the installation of new plants for solar electricity generation and this, today, is one of the causes of the current heavy dependence on the importation of methane gas for thermoelectrical production, besides for heating systems and industrial applications.

The golden year for photovoltaic production in our country was 2011, with installed power growing from 3.6 GW to 13.1 GW, an increase, in a single year, of little under 10 GW, a striking achievement.

The year 2021

The Terna report states that, in Italy, the total demand for electricity was 318 TWh, and of these, as many as 114 TWh were produced from national renewable sources, precisely 36% of total consumption and 41% of the energy produced in our country.

Total photovoltaic energy production in 2021 was 25 TWh.

In 2021 22.6 GW were installed in total in Italy, with 936,38 MW of new annual power, therefore under the threshold of a Gigawatt, around 10 times less than what was installed in 2011: the best 12 months ever in Italy.

In total, in Italy we have a total of 1,015,239 photovoltaic plants. Over half, 56% of the power installed, comes from plants of between 20kW and 1 MW, that is, of medium dimensions.

There are still very few plants that accumulate electricity in Italy, of which only 75,039 are new, and a total of 734.94 MWh installed.

The regions with the highest photovoltaic power installed are:

  1. 1. Puglia, 2,943 MW (where high-power plants are installed)
  2. 2. Lombardy, 2,711 MW (where photovoltaic plants are more widespread, of medium-small size)
  3. 3. Emilia-Romagna, 2,269 MW (where photovoltaic plants are widespread, of medium-small size, similar to Lombardy)

There are a number of Italian regions, especially the other regions of the centre-south, with high-power photovoltaic plants such as Sicily and Sardinia, but which are still far behind the first three. Veneto is, as usual, showing considerable dynamism, with a high number of small and medium plants installed.

THE CURRENT ENERGY CRISIS

The electricity produced using imported gas from Russia is 55 TWh, while all the natural gas used in Italy, also extracted from the territory, produces a total of 137 TWh.

To avoid supplies of methane from the Russian territory and former USSR countries, Italy has to more than double the photovoltaic electricity production of 2021, which was 25 TWh. If it was possible to replicated the speed of installation that Italy was able to achieve in the year of 2011, optimistically, it would only take a few years of new installations. At the same time, energy accumulators would need to be developed that are able to balance supply and demand.

Production activities which use electricity predominantly in the day, when electricity is produced by photovoltaic panels, can derive immediate significant advantages from solar energy, both in terms of the reduction of costs in the supply of electricity and a reduction in environmental impact through climate-altering CO2 emissions, as well as a reduction in indirect atmospheric pollution that still is produced by thermoelectric power stations. 

SOLAR TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH AND INNOVATION

A potentially very interesting solar technology, which it is hoped will be developed, is thermodynamic energy production, which has a higher yield compared to photovoltaic technology and doesn’t use silicon for constructing solar panels. The thermodynamic solar system is based on the principle of the heat pump, that is, the heating of a fluid by the sun. The plant is small and scalable and so can be installed anywhere. Thermodynamic solar technology can produce energy also at night and in seasons in which radiation is not continuous and prolonged, serving as a storage of energy. Unfortunately, this technology can only be used in Italy in the South.

CONCLUSIONS

The short-sightedness of its energy policy is having extremely high costs for the country, which has been unable to continue and maintain the photovoltaic growth achieved in 2011, today paying the price in terms of dependence and extremely high gas prices, imported almost entirely from politically unstable countries.

Also, as a consequence of the current energy crisis and the war between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, it’s necessary to rapidly develop long-sighted energy policies, avoiding, as far as possible, risks of dependence by continuing to consume methane coming from foreign gas pipelines.   

It’s necessary to rapidly incentivise the energy transition, which will have both significant environmental benefits, such as a reduction in the very dangerous smog and gas emissions that cause climate change, and benefits from a geopolitical point of view.

Electric mobility will also benefit from the spread of solar energy sources, permitting the charging of batteries at zero cost, at zero km, with electricity self-produced also on simple projecting roofs or on the photovoltaic roofs of current car parks. Moreover, in the case of a significant growth in electric vehicles in Italy, the network will have a negligent increase in consumption, this being offset by the improvement in the energy efficiency of buildings currently in progress.

EQUIVALENTS

1 Terawatt [1 TW) = 1,000 GW Megawatts

1 Gigawatt (1 GW) = 1,000 MW Megawatts

1 Megawatt (1 MW) = 1,000 KW Kilowatts

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The importance of the charging infrastructure for electric vehicle batteries

The importance of the charging infrastructure for electric vehicle batteries

In contrast with refuelling with fossil fuels, there are different ways of charging electric and electrified vehicle batteries, differentiated between them by the power transferred by the charging infrastructure, corresponding, in turn, to the stoppage times necessary to guarantee a certain amount of driving autonomy.   

One the great advantages of the electric car is the possibility of low-power home charging, in the garage, in the driveway, in the company, with longer charging times and low rates, leading to cost savings. It’s even possible to talk of zero-cost charging if the building is fitted with photovoltaic panels or the operator wants to attract customers, such as in the case of free columns at Italian supermarkets. In all the above cases, we’re talking about something new, a novelty of the electric car compared to traditional fuel-powered vehicles, which all require stops in service stations, with relative possible loss of useful time, with uncertain waiting times and in no circumstances are the fuels free.

Let’s now take a look at a practical charging example.

How long does it take to arrive at a minimum of around 100 kilometres of autonomous driving?

  • Around 6 hours and 30 minutes with current technologies, at 2.3 kW, in a perfectly normal 10A home socket, used to charge a smartphone or connected to the home TV (the washing machine socket is 16A). In a domestic system, the battery charges with a quantity of energy such as to permit a vehicle to gain over 10 km of autonomy for every hour of charging. It’s possible to envisage obtaining, without problems, well over 100 km of autonomy overnight, when the charge rates are lower.
  • Around 4 hours, with a wallbox, a column, a fixed battery charger, installed in the garage or in the driveway, suited to charging at 16A.
  • 1 hour and 40 minutes to around 2 hours 30 minutes, maximum, if charging with an alternating current, AC, with up to 11 kW availability. The charging depends very much on the power of the charged battery installed on the car.
  • Around 1 hour, if using alternating current, AC, with up to 22 kW three-phase availability and battery charger installed on the car of the same power (only few cars have this type, at high power, with alternating current, the current tendency is to charge with continuous current, DC).
  • Around 5 – 9 minutes with a “FAST” column at 50 kW DC, rapid and high power, in a continuous current, to charge around 100 km of autonomy. More a less a coffee break. In Italy, many even faster columns of over 100 kW have already been installed.
  • 4 minutes or less, of charging for 100 km of autonomy if the latest “ULTRA-FAST” technology is available, at 350 kW (today the best electric cars charge at up to a maximum of 262 kW).

The actual driving autonomy of an electric car will depend to a large degree on the driving style, the speed, the external temperature, use of the air-conditioning system, but most of all on the efficiency of the electric vehicle being driven. We have considered an average value of around 15 kW/100 km (there are electric cars, already on the market, that have a consumption of around 7 kW/100 km).

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Reinova presents To-Move: the folding electric scooter made of bamboo!

Reinova presents To-Move: the folding electric scooter made of bamboo!

Reinova, the new centre of excellence dedicated to the development and validation of components for the electric and hybrid Powertrain, has today officially presented the To-Move project, the innovative start-up with the objective of designing and developing sustainable vehicles that can offer freedom of movement and flexibility with the right form of last mile transport.

In recent months, Reinova, together with the designer Andrea Strippoli and other talented designers at the Turin Polytechnic, have developed a totally new vehicle, a folding electric scooter made of bamboo. It represents a true revolution for means of transport in the future, opening up a new market segment.

Reinova and To-Move will industrialise the first entirely Made in Italy vehicle designed and patented for last mile mobility. It’s a scooter “forged by nature”, sustainable because it’s made with natural materials and environmentally-friendly, being powered by electricity. In addition, the vehicle is easy to handle, being easily folded and transported, like a trolley, in any context, urban or extra-urban, on public means of transport like trains and planes, with significant advantages from a mobility point of view. The modular structure of the scooter will allow for different speeds and accelerations, depending on destination and autonomy requirements. 

Reinova and To-Move want to provide concrete and urgent solutions for the new industrial revolution in mobility and to amaze with innovative ideas. Giuseppe Corcione, Chief Executive Officer of Reinova and President of To-Move declares: “I decided to create this start-up after falling in love with the ideas, passion and creativity of 3 youngsters. I feel the need to support the development of the new mobility in Italy and to create completely new platforms for vehicles driven by futuristic ideas that fit in with the circular economy. To-Move is only the first example of how Reinova can contribute to creating and converting industrial contexts without posing the problem of what there is to lose, but focusing instead on what can be created, seizing the opportunities generated by this incredible industrial revolution. Connectivity, sharing, sustainability and modularity are the cornerstones of this ambitious project, together with Italian creativity and “Made in Italy” value”.

Andrea Strippoli, Chief Executive Officer of To-Move declares: “Finding people, managers and entrepreneurs that believe in a project, in a design and in the spirit of 3 youngsters was a positive surprise. To-Move will make ideas and dreams come to life; it will give substance to different mobility concepts and will do so with the professionalism, know-how and agility of Reinova’s professionals. We will be rapid, agile and, above all, always innovative. We will be guided by the curiosity to express in products what nature already offers us! To-Move has been created to combine Italian ideas and products. Reinova and e-power will make a technological contribution to the development of the Powertrain. We will provide the right dress for the best of Italian technology”. 

The pen of Andrea Strippoli and the technological know-how of Reinova will together give rise to vehicles of the future. The scooter, in fact, is just the first of other projects to be presented in the coming months. Currently under development, there’s a project for a completely innovative self-driven vehicle and a very high-profile vehicle for big cities that will accompany people to the office.

To keep updated on To-Move, it’s possible to consult the LinkedIn page, https://www.linkedin.com/company/to-movesrl/

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European car market situation. Already over 1.2 million sales of electric cars in a year

European car market situation. Already over 1.2 million sales of electric cars in a year

2022 is still characterised by sharp falls in the total sales of new cars in Europe and is the umpteenth warning of a big change in our continental market. The persistent shortage of semiconductors, the so-called “chip-shortage”, is still creating serious problems in the production and delivery of motor vehicles and relative sales to customers requesting them. This situation underlines even more the need, for vehicle manufacturers, to be able to procure equivalent and alternative strategic components, from various suppliers, diversifying the risk of line stoppage and opening the door to new competitors, especially those located in Europe. New equivalent automotive supplies can also be supported by specialised companies like Reinova, able to guarantee rapid validations, anticipated by accelerated laboratory tests, possible thanks to modern and advanced machinery which improve the safety of the vehicles and the reliability of the production chain.

January 2022 already marked a new historic low, with only 682,596 automobiles registered in the EU. In January 2019, before the pandemic, the number of cars registered was around 1.2 million, around twice today’s number. In January 2021 there was already a fall in the market compared to the past, with only 726,491 models, and today we are registering a further fall of 8% on a monthly basis. The January number of registrations has roughly halved over the two years of the pandemic.

Analysis of the types of power supply for the whole of 2021.

In 2021 electrified hybrid cars represented 19.6% of new cars registered in the EU, while in 2020 they represented only 11,9%. Rechargeable cars, hybrid plug-ins and completely electric cars, BEVs, together reached the figure of 18.0% of total car registrations, while in 2020 they represented only 10.5%. Only 19.6% of the 2021 EU car market was diesel-powered. Cars powered by petrol resisted, with 40% of the total sold, even though the percentage was much lower than the 47.5% in 2020.

Battery-powered electric cars, BEVs, were the ones growing the most in terms of sales in Europe compared to the other types of propulsion, in 2021, with +63.4%. Sales of BEVs were well over one million, 1,218,360 cars, compared to 745,644 electric cars sold in 2020.

Over 90% of commercial vehicles are still diesel, but there are signs of change.In 2021, there were substantial differences in the motorisation of commercial vehicles compared to automobiles intended for transporting people: only 3.0% of new registered vans are electric, while hybrids represent only 1.6% (perhaps due to the poor offer available up till now). 90.2% of the total number of vans purchased in the EU market were diesel during the whole of 2021, a sign that the more traditional form motorisation is holding for these vehicles, even if there was a slight fall from 2020, in which the sales were 92.4% of the total of vans.

Vans with alternative motorisations, electric and electrified, are growing strongly but are still, in absolute terms, decidedly low. The number of new petrol-powered vans, accounting for 5.4% of registrations, increased by 20.5% compared to 2020.

Outlook for the commercial vehicle supply chain

In 2021, the absolute European demand for diesel vans grow by 6.2%, reaching 1,408,376 vehicles sold compared to a total of cars sold, in 2021, of 9,7 million. The commercial vehicles market is a very interesting specialised market which will certainly evolve, albeit more slowly, towards electrification.

Reinova is ready to effectively support its partners in the development of new components dedicated to vans and electrical and electrified commercial vehicles, with rapid tests made possible by the improved laboratory equipment today available for the automotive sector. 

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Ecological transition or genuine technological revolution?

Ecological transition or genuine technological revolution?

The crisis in the supply of microprocessors and raw materials and the consequent and unexpected increase in their prices which began starting from 2021 has required, and still requires, the development of intelligent solutions necessary for finding valid alternatives to, and therefore the replacement of, components today considered critical.   

The rapid validation of alternative solutions, with accelerated functional tests, will have to be one of the principle strategic activities of every industry with the aim of finding components useful for improving environmental impact and for facing unstable supplies from distant countries, in this way avoiding line stoppages and improving the ecological footprint of production.

Sustainable mobility is able to guarantee the production of vehicles that produce increasingly less pollution thanks to sophisticated and complex gas treatment devices, as well as hybridisation, electrification and the development of new full-electric vehicles. The growing technological complexity is causing in fact, a general increase in the prices of electronic components and the raw materials necessary to produce them, from finished semiconductors to lithium, cobalt, copper and aluminium. As a result, industry will have to react by continually seeking better, more secure, ecological and economic materials, thanks to the work and commitment of research centres and consultancy firms like Reinova.

Lithium or sodium batteries?

The example of lithium is striking: it’s a metal found today in every rechargeable battery for smartphones, tablets and electric vehicles. The possible shortage, however, of lithium mining capacity could put a strain on future supplies in all the application sectors of this metal, found mainly in Australia, Chile and Bolivia.

In actual fact, it appears that there are already alternatives to lithium, such as sodium, a component extracted from sea salt and from sodium chloride, but is seems that a number of years are needed before being able to start mass production of batteries made with this element.

Technological innovation is crucial

A technological innovation that can make up for the lack of raw materials necessary or the production of rechargeable batteries already, in fact, exists: with the recent 850V recharging process, it is possible to add around 100 km of autonomy to an electric vehicle in only 5 minutes of charging, thus allowing for smaller, less costly and lighter batteries to be transported. This would make electric vehicles more efficient and able to consume less energy to carry the significant weight of the batteries, currently still too big.

The main reason, in fact, for installing large-size lithium batteries in today’s electric cars is perhaps associated with the search for an autonomy similar to vehicles with diesel or petrol endothermic propulsion. While, on the one hand, this would meet the customer’s request in relation to recharging anxieties, it does not, on the other hand, however, take account of the increase in the price of electric vehicles that this causes, a price that is directly correlated to the procurement cost of lithium (calibrated according to the weight).

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, the analysis and prices company, estimates that prices of lithium carbonate could increase by at least 16% and consequently also of costs of production of the batteries, especially those intended for the mass market.    

Today, the other extremely important raw material for the production of rechargeable batteries is cobalt, extracted largely in the mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the most economically and politically unstable African countries where the mining companies are accused of serious violations of human rights.

Its rarity and the bad reputation of the geographic area where this metal is extracted have provoked an understandable reaction of technological innovation, such as to already lead Panasonic and Samsung to produce the first batteries without cobalt for the largest producer of electric cars, Tesla.

In addition, batteries without cobalt are also considered as safer, even though today they still have a lower autonomy. It is expected that, in the next few years, LFP (lithium-iron-phosphorus) batteries will be increasingly used for electric vehicles, especially were a high autonomy is not required.

In conclusion, the difficulty in obtaining lithium and cobalt (but also aluminium and copper) is driving the research and development of alternative technological solutions that reduce production prices on the one hand, and on the other hand make the supply chain more stable through the use of safe materials with low environmental impact, and which are common and not rare, without excluding recycled materials. 

This is one of the reasons why Reinova supports its partners in the continual search of safe technical solutions which are not only economically advantageous but, above all, environmentally sustainable.

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NRRP – National Recovery and Resilience Plan, for a strategic industrial approach

NRRP – National Recovery and Resilience Plan, for a strategic industrial approach

With the continuous increase in the share of electricity produced by renewable sources, in Italy the emissions produced by battery-powered vehicles will be further reduced.

The electric car’s environmental footprint will become less impactful the more the national energy supply chain completes the ecological sustainable transition for the reduction of emissions of CO2 and harmful gases.

An improvement in the quality of life in our chaotic Italian cities will depend largely on the extent to which national industry will be able to develop technological solutions that are economical, recyclable, reusable and sustainable. Batteries will have to be increasingly smaller, lighter and with a high energy density, so as to make electric vehicles ever more efficient and with greater autonomy. 

The projects that envisage the creation of new, increasingly lighter and efficient means of public transport will be an industrial opportunity to support the ecological transition and collective sustainable mobility in countries like Italy where means of public transport are not yet sufficiently developed to sufficient levels for a modern and technologically advanced society.

While the endothermic engine is the true beating heart of traditional cars, the battery and software, on the other hand, represent the most important and technically complex and strategic elements of electric vehicles, continually subject to rapid technological changes.  

For this reason, a strengthening of a European industry supported by research and development and focused on the creation of a complete supply chain composed of electrification, batteries and software, will be essential for achieving continental independence from fossil fuels and for reconfirming European leadership, today put under question by the new technologies developed, most of all, in the Far East and USA.   

From an industrial point of view, leadership will be required in the next few years to guide the energy transition of businesses having to compete in the international markets of electric mobility and complete automotive production chains.

Reinova offers expert guidance, not only technical, but also strategic and straightforward, for the business choices of its customers, with an effective consultancy service targeted on results, marked by ethics, sustainability and integrity. Through research and all-round consultancy, the Company seeks to offer its customers the opportunity to take an active part in the ecological transition, thanks also to the financial support offered by the NRRP.