The ambitious plan to install a cutting-edge, widespread charging network in collaboration with Be Charge was revealed today during a webinar organized by the Municipality of Parma. Environmental Sustainability Councillor Tiziana Benassi demonstrated how it has been possible to develop important charging infrastructure without using public funds. Roberto Colicchio, Head of Business Development at Be Charge, highlighted the decisive role of municipalities in a post-COVID-19 world, both today and in the future.
Parma, 20 July 2020 – The Municipality of Parma, with the collaboration of Be Charge, will develop an electric vehicle charging network that includes 50 stations for a total of 100 charging points, 9 of which will be 100kW fast-charge connections. The announcement was made today by Parma’s Mayor, Federico Pizzarotti, and Environmental Sustainability Councillor, Tiziana Benassi, who held a virtual press conference to demonstrate how it has been possible to create this important, widespread charging network in a short amount of time and without using public funds.
«We’re proud to be one of the first municipalities in Emilia’, stated Benassi, ‘to install such a widespread network of electric vehicle charging stations. In the transportation reform plan that the Municipality of Parma is implementing, electric options play an important role. Electric vehicles are a great way to reduce air and noise pollution, improving the air quality and general liveability. They are also a great solution for those who need to get around town (electric vehicles can enter the city centre even on ‘clean-air Sundays’, they can use bus lanes and they don’t pay for street parking). This is an opportunity to make Italy a more appealing tourism destination, both domestic and international».
«Our development plan is ambitious’, commented Paolo Martini, CEO of Be Charge. ‘We’re counting on installing around 30,000 charging points in Italy in the next 3-5 years, providing energy exclusively from renewable sources, for a total investment of over €150 million. Likewise, we also received €25 million in financing from the European Investment Bank (EIB), but the role of the municipalities remains central to this development. It is only with the cooperation of local governments that we can create the electric vehicle charging infrastructure that our country needs».
Map of the Be Charge charging stations in the Municipality of Parma
How to get a network of charging stations – Advantages for municipalities and citizens
Developing a network of charging stations for electric vehicles is, for the municipality, a great tool to become a draw for the ‘electric community’, which continues to grow in Italy. The creation of a widespread charging network doesn’t require the use of public funds as the investments and operating costs are sustained by the operator, which acts as a private partner to the municipality.
The charging station network will then become a ‘hub’ around which traditional and innovative new businesses will develop (car sharing, sustainable tourism, retail points, etc.). The municipality can also monitor the use and the status of the charging stations and analyse the (anonymous) charging data to better understand traffic, thereby improving the local ‘environmental sustainability report card’ and air quality.
A widespread charging network incentivises citizens to purchase electric vehicles without worrying about limited trip ranges, charging them simply and quickly thanks to a highly-digitized service, which is integrated with navigation systems. Citizens can thereby travel conveniently within Italy, taking advantage of a network that is compatible with the one they have in their own city of residence, benefiting from discounts and promotions that businesses near the charging stations will offer in the form of digital coupons to use while the vehicle is charging.
After an initial inspection by the power provider, the planning phase begins (with a start of construction notification, called a SCIA in Italy) followed by the installation of the charging stations, the related connection to the power grid, and finally the testing and activation of the charging points. The entire process will take 60-120 days from the moment the memorandum of understanding is signed.
How to use the charging stations
To use a Be Charge charging station, all users need to do is install and register with the Be Charge app (available for free on Google Play and the Apple Store). Once logged in to the app, users can bring up the map of all Be Charge charging stations in Italy, check their availability in real time, see what type of connector types the various charging stations have, and view the price in €/kWh. The credit card associated with the user’s account will be charged directly. If the device features navigation software (Google Maps or Apple Maps), users can also get directions to the individual charging stations. Once connected to the charging station, the progress of the charge can be monitored directly from the app. The Be Charge call centre is available 24/7 at +39 02-87119401.
For the safety of its customers, Be Charge recommends following all instructions and requirements for similar activities issued by the Italian Higher Health Institute (ISS), both before starting a charging session and once complete, such as the use of disposable gloves.
The Be Charge network, covering all of Italy
Be Charge works with both public administrations and private entities (large and small) with public-access car parks, such as large-scale retail chains, catering chains, hotels, sports centres, etc, to offer a network of charging stations found throughout Italy. Adhering to the principles of reliability, interoperability, broad coverage and resilience, Be Charge aims to install the right charging station in the right place: Quick Chargers (22 kW) in city centres and Hyper Charger (up to 300 kW DC) in suburban areas with lots of through traffic.
Among its various projects, Be Charge is building numerous charging stations (including fast chargers) in some large Italian urban areas such as Turin (over 300 charging points), Milan (309), Rome (320) and Rimini (100). In interchange car parks in Naples operated by the Naples Transport Authority (Azienda Napoletana Mobilità), Be Charge will install 120 charging stations (240 charging points) through a private-public tender. The first 30 charging points have been installed in Bologna, and other projects have been approved or are being reviewed for the installation of additional stations. Treviso currently has 94 functional charging points.
As proof of the widespread diffusion of the Be Charge network, the cities involved in the installation of charging stations include both large and small urban areas, from the centre-north (Parma, Tortona, Pesaro, Chieti, Pescara, Sassuolo) to the south (Termini Imerese, Marsala, Monopoli, Cerignola), in addition to consortia of municipalities such as CONSVIPO (Consortium for the Development of Polesine), the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages of Sicily (I Borghi più Belli della Sicilia) and the Municipalities of Valle d’Aosta. In its development plan, Be Charge has the support of various utilities in Italy, such as Ascotrade (Veneto) and CVA (Valle d’Aosta), with which it has formed close partnerships to actively develop the network in those regions, just as with managers of large electrical fleets, such as E-Vai in Lombardy and Sicily by Car in Sicily. Network development activities are continuing with the aim of covering all of Italy. Be Charge has already penned agreements to provide infrastructure for electric charging stations with Biella (106 in the city and province), Cesenatico (20) and Piacenza.