First electric charging station in Venice © e-concept

A charging station. Few people in Northern Europe will raise an eyebrow about that. After all, Amsterdam got its first charging station as early as 2009, and nowadays the Dutch metropolis is littered with around 1500 of them. But when the first charging station is placed in Venice, it really is news.

The charging station is designed in a classic style and resembles the typical Venetian palina, bollard, or mooring pole.

This charging station is not just a pillar next to a car park, but a charging station located in water. Electric boats can use it to charge their batteries. The pole is designed in a classic style and resembles the typical Venetian palina, – also known as a bollard, or mooring pole. There are an estimated 9000 of them.

Made of recycled material

The new post is not made of wood, but out of recycled material which is resistant to wear and tear caused by saltwater. This in itself is a revolution in conservative Venice, since the palina is traditionally made of wood. The operation of the charging post is similar to the ones we are familiar with. It works according to the so-called mode 3 charging method and the socket is a type 2 socket, the European standard.

The pole incorporates a charging station from Enel, Italy’s largest energy company. The mooring pole does not feature a display so as to pre-empt any malfunctions due to water damage to the electrical charging infrastructure. Charging sessions are started and ended via an app. Charging a traditional Venetian motorboat – the Riva– takes about twenty minutes. Venetian blogger Federico Blumer demonstrates how this works in this video.

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A municipal waste department employee plugs in. © e-concept

The first boat that drew electricity last week at the launch of the charging station, was a barge from the municipal waste department. Garbage collection, like all other distribution services in Venice, is done by water. “A major absentee from this project is the municipal public transport company,” writes Vaielletrico, an online magazine on electric transport. So-called vaporettos, water buses, operate ferry services between and around most of Venice’s 117 islands. The vaporetto is a serious polluter.

Regatta of electric boats

It remains to be seen whether the charging stations will attract a lot of customers. There are not very many electric vessels in operation. In any event, the municipality of Venice is serious about becoming ‘greener’ soon. Last April, the city council endorsed the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. This commits the city to draw up a new Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (PAESC) by 2022. The plan aims to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030. It also intends to neutralize emissions by 2050 as part of a more comprehensive European Union plan. As a token of the city’s commitment, a regatta of electric boats in the Venetian lagoon is scheduled for June 2021.

The charging station is not an initiative of the municipality itself. Instead, it comes from three Venetian entrepreneurs who rallied together in the ‘e-concept’ start-up. 

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About the author

Author profile picture Ewout Kieckens is a Dutch journalist in Rome who writes about Italian lifestyle and culture. He has written books on diverse subjects such as the Vatican and Italian women. He is very interested in innovations, especially Italian contribution to progress.