Milan, 1.5 billion EU funds for zero-emission urban transport

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Milan under fire for air quality aims to transition urban traffic full electric thanks to European funds. It was Mayor Giuseppe Sala in Paris, in 2017, who signed the anti-smog pact in a summit, which was defined as historic, with eleven other world metropolises: London, Paris, Los Angeles, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Barcelona, ​​Quito , Vancouver, Mexico City, Seattle and Auckland. The C40 network which started the models of alternative means of transport in large cities, cycle paths, renewable energy public transport networks.

A project started in 2018

An ambitious project, in which Milan started with the advantage of a largely rail network, including metro and tram. And which saw the light thanks to European funds: the first 42 electric buses landed in Milan just six years ago, in March 2018, one third financed by the Municipality and two thirds by the European Fund for Regional Development (ERDF 2014- 2020). A pilot project that continued with strong European traction: another 32 and a half million were spent until last year, again from ERDF funds, for another 117 hybrid buses that were added to the fleet. Almost six years later, of the 1200 vehicles in service in Milan, there are a total of 250 electric buses, 20%, plus 290 hybrids, which have both a combustion engine and an electric motor.

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A 1.5 billion transition plan

But it is still from European funds, from the Pnrr, that other more ecological vehicles will arrive shortly: by 2026, 260 electric-only buses should land on the roads, thus reaching half of those circulating in the city. Thirty-six by the end of the year, the other 260 between 2025 and 2026. A transition plan that involves an investment of 1.5 billion euros in vehicles and infrastructure. Always thanks to European funds. If we consider trams, flobuses and metro, 70% of local public transport in Milan runs on electricity.

A fleet of electric public transport that must grow together with the infrastructure. Starting from the interventions in the San Donato depot, the first to be converted in 2018 for the management of electric buses, there are now 14 so-called hi-tech chargers, for the rapid charging of e-buses, at the terminus. Five to eight minutes of charging, and the bus can start moving again. Again thanks to European resources, this time from the Pnrr.

Of course, electric doesn’t necessarily mean more sustainable. Atm, which is the main consumer of electricity in Milan, as part of the Full Electric plan, would like to aim for self-production: in October 2023 there were 11 thousand square meters of surface area used for photovoltaic systems with an installed power of approximately 2 MW.

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