Florence makes a bid to become one of Italy’s most cutting-edge smart cities. Public and private electric mobility and energy efficiency are the cornerstones of the partnership between the Municipality of Florence and Enel.
Florence Smart City was the topic of discussion this morning at the town hall Palazzo Vecchio by Florence Mayor Dario Nardella, Enel CEO and General Manager Francesco Starace, Florence Town Planning Councillor Giovanni Bettarini and Francesco Venturini, Head of Enel’s Global e-Solutions.
The meeting provided the opportunity to take stock of the current situation and plan the next moves for the projects involving the close partnership between the energy company and the local authority.
On the electric mobility front, the latest arrivals relate to the Fast Recharge Plus stations designed for electric taxis enabling them to be recharged in about 20 minutes. After the first two recharge stations in Piazza Francia and Via del Cavallaccio, another two were inaugurated this morning on Controviale Guidoni and Piazzale Donatello. Following an agreement between the municipal government and the taxi drivers of Florence, two more of these columns will be installed, one on Via Venosta and the other in a location yet to be decided. As the name implies Fast Recharge Plus stations allow for speedy recharges at 22-43kW AC and 50kW DC to the electric vehicles in the Florentine taxi fleet. The recharge process is managed remotely by the Electric Mobility Management (EMM) system that also provides users with added value in the form of real time information on the location of the recharge columns, the recharge status, reservation opportunities and other services.
The construction of the super-fast recharge system for taxi drivers is part of a broader project that sees a partnership between the Municipality of Florence and Enel and envisages investments for over 30 million euros in three pilot cities. Out of the 30 million euros, 25 million are financed by the European Commission and the rest is financed by private investors. In Florence, over the next 5 years, investments for 10 million euros will be carried out in the Novoli/Piagge/Cascine areas, through a complex and integrated plan of action. This plan is aimed at improving energy efficiency (smart grids, smart lighting, district heating for more than 700 users with seasonal solar storage, 600 smart info devices), sustainable mobility (conversion of the motors of 100 taxis into electric motors, broadening of the fast recharge columns network, App for citizens and tourists), ICT and IoT - Internet of Things (urban control centre with a common platform for the three pilot cities, smart benches, smartwaste), resilience and security (smart grids, video-surveillance, SOS).
To date Florence is the Italian municipality boasting the highest number of all-electric taxis after 70 taxi drivers responded to the call for tenders published last June by the local government to provide their service in all-electric vehicles.
Another two Fast Recharge Plus stations are soon to be installed near the Firenze Nord and Firenze Sud tollbooths as part of the European EVA+ project, for which Enel won the contract along with a consortium of car manufacturers and the main Austrian utility. The project involves the installation of 200 fast recharge points along the main motorway arteries between Austria and Italy. These two new columns will not only be available to taxi-drivers, but also to all drivers of electric vehicles.
Florence boasts an infrastructure of 179 Enel recharge stations for public use, making the capital of Tuscany the Italian city with the most recharge stations. The Enel infrastructure consists of pole stations able to deliver a slow 3.3kW charge or a 22kW quick charge, thus ensuring that the new generation of vehicles can be powered up as well as those already in circulation with smart and interoperable recharges. Interoperability is particularly important for electric vehicle owners who are able to use the electric recharge card supplied by the energy retail company at any recharge station regardless of the company it is contracted with.
The Municipality of Florence and Enel have also responded to the EU UIA (Urban Innovative Action) call with their FURBA (Florence Urban Rapid Bus Transport) project which plans to activate a public transport corridor using 4 all-electric buses 18 metres in length to guarantee service every 5 minutes. As part of this project, Enel will be installing a fast recharge station (350kW) complete with a pantograph, capable of delivering a full recharge to an electric bus battery in 10 minutes, in addition to a 50kW V2G station making it possible to optimise energy inside the bus park by using the energy generated by 10kW photovoltaic panels.
The partnership between the Municipality of Florence and Enel (enel.com) is also active on the ultra-broadband front with Open Fiber, the Enel and Cdp joint venture for the creation of infrastructure covering the whole of Italy using FTTH (Fiber to the home) technology. By 2019 about 80% of premises in Florence will be cabled, with an investment of some 50 million euros.