Fuelling Italy’s Future: How the transition to low-carbon mobility strengthens the economy

New study shows how the transition to low-carbon mobility in Italy can boost economic growth and reduce air pollution

Milan, Thursday 27th September 2018. Italy could boost its economy and create 19,225 net additional jobs in 2030 through the transition from a mobility system fuelled with imported oil and diesel to one that is driven by domestically produced renewable energy. This is what a new study, released today by a consortium of stakeholders in the Italian mobility and energy sector(1), coordinated by the European Climate Foundation, Transport & Environment and Enel Foundation, reveals.

According to “Fuelling Italy’s Future: How the transition to low-carbon mobility strengthens the economy”(2), the transition to low and zero carbon vehicles in Italy will be instrumental to increasing Italy’s GDP by 2.4 billion euros in 2030 (compared to the reference scenario). This will allow Italy to achieve the double bonus of minimising its exposure to oil price volatility and maximising the market for its solar and wind energy, with a consequent increase of its national energy security. Thanks to the transition to low carbon mobility, the issue of low air quality linked to passenger mobility will be also addressed, avoiding 1,100 premature deaths by 2030 and preventing a significant number of lung cancers, chronic bronchitis and asthma.

  • Download the summary report in Italian here
  • Download the summary report in English here
  • Download the technical report here

Key findings

Economic growth: Italy has the opportunity to reduce leakage from the domestic economy and minimise its exposure to oil price volatility by replacing imported oil with its solar and wind energy. In 2017 Italy imported 15.9 million tonnes of refined petroleum products. By cutting oil imports, the report shows, it could save about 21 billion euros between now and 2030 and 377 billion euros by 2050, with a consequent boost to the Italian trade balance.

  • The petroleum industry employs relatively few people in Italy as last year 1 million euro of added value in the petroleum sector created only 3.5 jobs, while the electricity and hydrogen sectors are almost 5 times more labour intensive. According to the report, the transition has a net positive impact on employment, as 19,225 net additional jobs will have been created in Italy in 2030 and more than 50,000 net additional jobs in 2050.Nevertheless, it is clear that well targeted policy interventions delivering assistance to those workers that lose their jobs in the transition are needed.
  • The Italian automotive industry has experienced a substantial loss of competitiveness over the past decade. The transition to new technologies and powertrains present opportunities to improve the competitiveness of the industry, focusing on new supply chains and the changing demands of the wider European motor vehicles industry. In particular, Italy could regain domestic market share that has been eroded over the past decade if Italian car manufacturers manage to be again at the forefront of European development of small and efficient urban vehicles.

Impacts on consumers: The transition to a low emission mobility entails a shift towards vehicles with a higher purchase price but lower running costs, offsetting their greater initial purchasing cost. According to the TECH scenario of the report, in 2030 the total cost of ownership over the average useful lifetime of a small sized pure battery electric vehicle will become lower than that of a conventional petrol car. This is due to lower fuel and maintenance costs, that will allow consumers to save about 917 euros per year in 2030 as well as reductions in the purchasing price of battery electric vehicles, as a result of lower battery prices.

Health: Italy’s main cities suffer from air pollution which is mainly caused by emissions from a petrol car-dominated vehicle fleet. Low-carbon mobility can help cut air pollution by decreasing substantially NOx and PM emissions from cars. The study shows that such emissions can be decreased respectively by 50% and 63% compared to 2017 levels, moving close to zero in 2050. Thanks to the reduction of air pollution due to tailpipe emissions, the TECH scenario shows that in 2050, about 114,644 life years will be gained, for an equivalent of almost 1,400 lives. Around 2,000 cases of lung cancer and 12,600 cases of chronic bronchitis will be also prevented in the same time period.

Investment in Grids and Chargers: Sufficient publicly accessible charging infrastructure is a key enabler for the accelerated uptake of low-carbon mobility, as mentioned also in the National Plan for Recharging Infrastructure (3) and in the Italian Scenario of hydrogen electric mobility (4).  It is estimated that 3 billion euros will be required for investments in charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in the period to 2030. Of this, €1.8 billion will serve to provide publicly available charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

However, the report warns, it is essential to accompany and manage the transition towards low-carbon mobility with well targeted and forward-looking policy interventions, in order to generate quality employment, especially in terms of adaptation and transformation of workers and regions that are particularly affected by the long-term decline in motor vehicles, and guarantee social, environmental and economic sustainability.

The technical analysis team composed by Cambridge Econometrics, Element Energy and CERTeT research centre at Bocconi University worked in coordination with the European Climate Foundation, Transport & Environment and Enel Foundation. In addition, a core working group of local qualified stakeholders ensured constructive and transparent exchange of views and provided advice on the analysis to evaluate the boundaries within which vehicle technologies can contribute to mitigating carbon emissions from cars in Italy.
This study has been complemented with a technical analysis by consultancy Element Energy on the impact of this transition on the electricity grid (Infrastructure costs & Synergy between transport and power system), and by the analysis of CERTeT research centre at Bocconi University on the assessment of health impacts in Italy.


Veronica Aneris, Esperta Nazionale per l’Italia, Federazione europea Transport & Environment

“The study concludes that, if managed with the right policies, the transition to zero-emission mobility can generate a virtuous circle in Italy for the benefit of all. The reduction in the use of fossil fuels is key: for the same product value, the petroleum sector employs only 3.5 workers in Italy, while the electricity sector is 5 times as much. The more oil imports are reduced and replaced by solar and wind energy produced in Italy, the greater the benefits for the national economy, the society, the environment and health. In this regard, the negotiations on cars & vans CO2 standard post-2020 taking place in the coming days in Brussels are crucial and policy makers have a unique opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.”

Oliviero Baccelli, Director, CERTet

“CERTeT’s contribution to the project aimed to analyse the economic value of two aspects that are particularly relevant for the quality of life in the main Italian cities. Air quality in all the main cities located in the Po Valley is a critical factor strongly felt by citizens. The analysis on the reduction of medical costs and that on the increase in productivity at work show how the transition towards electric mobility can contribute to improving not only air quality but also the quality of life.”

Luisa Crisigiovanni, Secretary General, Altroconsumo

“If it is true that in 2030 an electric car will allow savings of about 900 € a year compared to a conventional car, this can favor the demand for such cars, despite higher initial purchase costs, with consequent benefits for health and the environment. For this change to happen, however, investments in charging infrastructure for electric vehicles are needed.”

Luigi De Rocchi, R&D Manager, COBAT

“The predicted scenarios for the accelerated uptake of e-mobility, presented in the report, provide key information to imagine the new world we will be operating in in the near future. This is of vital importance for COBAT in order to continue its collecting and recycling activity of used batteries in the best possible way, especially when it comes to complex technology-based accumulators such as those used for electric traction”.

Alberto Dossi, President, H2IT

“This report is important for us as it reflects the vision of H2IT on the future of fuel-cell electric sustainable mobility. Fuel cell electric vehicles with the required refuelling infrastructures are recognized among the most interesting solutions in the study, with the uptake of the first vehicle fleets already in the period 2020-2030 and the mass deployment beyond 2030. The short refuelling time and long driving range constitute, already today, the strengths of this technology. Moreover, hydrogen can store electricity from renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic and wind power, and use the extra electricity production in periods not suitable for consumption or distribution.

Francesco Fontana Giusti, Image & Communications Director, Renault Italia

“Electric mobility is a synthesis of technological innovation, sustainable transport and energy efficiency. Through a pioneering approach, Renault has been committed for years to this transition, which represents both an environmental challenge and an opportunity for development. Car manufacturers, energy utilities, institutions, public and private operators now have the opportunity to work together synergistically to accompany and promote this revolutionary change in mobility.”

Pete Harrison, Executive Director, EU Policy, European Climate Foundation

“Italian cars have always been among the most stylish, but to compete in the future automotive market, they will also need to be built on the technologies of the future. Modernising Italy’s mobility system can also bring multiple economic benefits: lower costs for oil imports; lower hospital costs for treating illnesses caused by air pollution; even lower costs for cleaning Italy’s magnificent architecture.”

Dino Marcozzi, Secretary General, MOTUS-E

“The strength of this study is that it covers the entire supply chain in a rigorous manner, by evaluating the significant environmental benefits, the limited impact on electricity grids and the possible positive socio-economic implications. It also creates a fertile ground for further analysis on penetration scenarios in other sectors than the private one. Keeping in mind the results of the study, our task will be to create the political and industrial conditions to make the most advantageous scenario described in the study real in the short term.”

Carlo Meazzi, Secretary General, FLAEI CISL

“The development of a low carbon transport system will lead us towards an increasingly decarbonized economy and this opportunity must be seized. This study helps us understand the possible impacts of the transition on the Italian economy, without hiding the risks and challenges to be addressed but highlighting also the related benefits and opportunities. Those can be seized only if a timely political action aiming at strengthening research and new technological development is developed. An Italian chain of innovation in a sector where competitiveness and consequently jobs will depend more and more on quality, could then be promoted.”

Pietro Menga, President, Cives CEI

“Fuelling Italy’s Future shows that the transition to e-Mobility would also lead to a positive impact on employment in Italy. Moreover, the study shows that if the same methodology is applied also to other countries, the effectiveness of the different industrial policies adopted can be compared.”

Raimondo Orsini, Director, Fondazione per lo sviluppo sostenibile

“This study shows that if we want to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement and improve air quality in our cities, we need to transition to green mobility over the next 10 years with a much faster and more ambitious approach than “business as usual”. The most useful element of the study is the fact that this low-carbon mobility, if engages Italian companies and is wisely guided at the regulatory level, instead of being a cost, can represent a growth driver for our economy. We cannot miss this opportunity and leave the benefits of change to others. But we need a change of pace.”

Carlo Papa, Director, Enel Foundation

”The cooperation with leading scholars, outstanding transformational leaders and enlightened civil society representatives during this research has been an enriching experience. Open inflows and outflows of knowledge were instrumental to reach a broad consensus on the positive impact, for Italy and the Italians, of shifting away from fossil fuels towards sustainable mobility. Fast tracking adoption thanks to wider choice of e-vehicles, forward thinking policy makers and public officials, and availability of innovative infrastructures will demonstrate that electricity represents the energy vector of the future in the mobility space – as well as in others – enabling sustainability, resilience and economic development.”

Angelo Maria Petroni, Secretary General, Aspen Institute Italia

“Europe’s pathway will lead to the end of polluting vehicles and the full uptake of zero-emission vehicles in the next twenty years. Electric mobility is a key element in this scenario. Therefore, it is essential for Italy to keep up with the pace adopting policies that can favour technological and infrastructural investments, gather public support and produce economic and social benefits for the country. Aspen Institute Italia intends to contribute to that so that the strategic political decisions leading to the best for the future of all, will be taken “.

Camillo Piazza, President, Classe Onlus

“Class onlus has being involved in electric mobility for many years, having also managed the service provider for the electric vehicles’ charging stations in Italy.  Fuelling Italy’s Future strengthens and increases the awareness that the transition to electric mobility creates a truly positive impact both for the economy and the environment.”

Alberto Piglia, Head of E-Mobility, Enel X

“The study is a valuable scenario analysis of future mobility and its impacts. The transition to low-carbon transport cannot be separated from the uptake of electric vehicles, which, in addition to bringing environmental benefits, prove to be also an important opportunity for the social and economic development in Italy. Electric mobility contributes to improving the quality of life in cities and the health of citizens, freeing resources for Italy’s economic growth through the improvement of the national energy balance with a greater share of renewables. Electric mobility is the best alternative to combine environmental sustainability, economic development and health for citizens”.

René Schroeder, Executive Director, Eurobat

“This analysis shows that the shift to hybridisation and electrification of transport represents an important opportunity for Italy, including the Italian battery and automotive industries. We are confident that future developments of all battery technologies will contribute to the decarbonisation of the Italian transport sector, as demonstrated by this report.”

Stefano Scainelli, CEO, Scame Parre Spa

“We believe that supporting the silent electric mobility revolution does not only mean providing effective and efficient solutions but also actively contribute to forming social consciousness. In this perspective, the study is of major importance as concrete data on which we can base the choices for our future and that of our children, has emerged”.

Gianni Silvestrini, Scientific Director, Kyoto Club

“The transition to electric mobility is an irreversible trend. What is not taken for granted, however, is the role that Italian companies will play in it. Seizing this opportunity will depend not only on the capacity and audacity of our industry, but also on the government policies on the demand and innovation side.”

Jon Stenning, Associate Director, Cambridge Econometrics

“This analysis demonstrates that the Italian economy will benefit from the transition to low carbon mobility. The reduction in demand for imported oil and increased demand for domestically produced fuels will create output and jobs. These economic benefits sit alongside the strong environmental benefits from the transition, including the substantial benefits to human health. However, there are challenges to be overcome to ensure that these benefits are delivered; in particular, maintaining and improving the competitiveness of vehicle and component manufacture will be crucial to realising the economic gains.”

– ENDS –


Notes to the Editor:

  1. ABB, Altroconsumo, Aspen Institute Italia, Cives Cei, Class Onlus, Cobat, Enel X, Eurobat, FIAMM, Flaei Cisl, Fondazione per lo Sviluppo sostenibile, H2IT, Kyoto Club, Motus E, Renault Italia, Scame. The information and conclusions in this report represent the contributions of the different stakeholders, but should not be treated as binding on the companies and organisations involved.
  2. “Fuelling Italy’s Future: How the transition to low-carbon mobility strengthens the economy: https://europeanclimate.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Fuelling-Italys-Future_Summary-Report.pdf
  3. PNIRE – National Plan for Recharging Infrastructure
  4. Viesi, D., Crema, L. and Testi, M., 2017, The Italian hydrogen mobility scenario implementing the European directive on alternative fuels infrastructure (DAFI 2014/94/EU), International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 42(44), pp.27354-27373.


Cristina Aroldi, Strategic Communications Associate, European Climate Foundation, T:+32 (0)2 893 92 30, cristina.aroldi@europeanclimate.org