The project “Smart Cities: network solutions for sustainable mobility”, funded by the Veneto Region as part of the European Social Fund (POR FSE) program, is coming to an end.
The ambition of the project was to study the adoption of e-mobility solutions to make them a valuable asset for the “smart city” of the future. The project is therefore part of the implementation of the 11th Sustainable Development Goal (“Sustainable Cities and Communities”) set out in the UN Agenda 2030.
The recent UN Summit Cop26 in Glasgow has once again reaffirmed the urgency of concrete and shared commitment to combating climate change. A commitment that the European Union had already declared with the Green Deal, setting the ambitious goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050.
Of course, to be able to meet this ambitious challenge, multiple efforts are needed in multiple areas. One of the factors that can help to achieve the objective set, is the transition towards reduced or zero-emission mobility. In particular, electric mobility has been regarded as one of the most promising technologies to decarbonize our transport systems and reduce the negative impact of mobility in our cities. Cities will increasingly have to exploit and integrate new technologies to become more sustainable and ensure safe and inclusive spaces for all citizens who live there.
However, it is essential to consider that the costs and benefits of e-mobility can be numerous and not be limited to environmental sustainability and emission levels alone. Electric mobility can also be used to provide ancillary services to the electricity grid and collect data for the management of different services in the city.
The Padua context, given the vitality of public, academic, and industrial institutions strongly committed to innovation and sensitivity to sustainability issues, has already proved fertile ground for the transition to electric urban mobility (for example, the service of city-cars and bike-sharing or electric scooters launched in September). To ulterior evidence of this, some important industrial players of the territory involved in the plan, are testing solutions of e-mobility for their daily operativity.
During the project, three researchers related to the dSEA departments (Giulia De Matteis and Franco Corti, from the Department of Economic and Business Sciences) and dII (Marco Agostini from the Department of Industrial Engineering) of the University of Padua, were funded for 12 months each. The research activity has been oriented to the study of pricing models for the charging of electric vehicles, taking into account the need to balance the constraints imposed by the electricity distribution network and the opportunity to implement a solution of smart charging (so-called vehicle-to-grid) enabling the electric vehicle battery to provide ancillary services to the distribution network
Thanks to an interdisciplinary approach, an instrument was developed that was not only a tool of pure technical optimization, but that considered both the feasibility and the economic sustainability of the result. To complete the research activity, interviews were carried out with different project stakeholders to highlight the emerging aspects of the opportunities and obstacles encountered in the adoption of e-mobility solutions for the provision of services.
The interdisciplinary research group, under the supervision of Prof. Luciano Giovanni Greco, has worked in partnership with strategic companies of the territory, such as Interporto Padova SpA, AcegasApsAmga SpA, Unipiazza S.r.l., Economit S.r.l. e VenicePromex. The project also benefited from collaboration with other excellent research centers with researchers from the University of Paris Nanterre, in the field of applied economics, and the Imperial College of London, in the field of transport engineering.