Wednesday May 27, 2020

'The first challenge is to develop an holistic approach to deliver electric mobility for the private and public sector'

Francesco Pilla, Lecturer in Smart Cities at University college Dublin on the challenges of the electric vehicle market

11th September, 2018

What's your name?

Francesco Pilla

Francesco Pilla, Smart Cities Lecturer at UCD

What position do you hold?

Lecturer in Smart Cities

How long have you held the position?

Since June 2016

What are your day to day responsibilities?

I’m a Lecturer in Smart Cities and Urban Planning in UCD. My day to day responsibilities are lecturing, research and projects with industry and local authorities. My area of work is Smart Cities, specifically the deployment of pervasive network of low cost sensors and geospatial models to gain a better understanding of the spatial dynamics in cities. I try to get a broad perspective on how cities work, why they produce negative impacts on the environment and what to do about it.

What is your professional background?

I got my undergraduate and MA degrees in Environmental Engineering in Bologna, Italy. Then I moved to Ireland for an MSc in Mechanical Engineering in TCD and then a PhD in Civil Engineering still in TCD, where I also started to work as a lecturer in 2012. I moved then to UCD in 2016.

Tell me about yourself away from work?

I do sports, like rowing and running, which are a good antidote to sitting at a computer. I also like to read fantasy fiction, like Game of Thrones or Harry Potter, they help me to leave the work behind.

Tell us something very few people know about you?

I’m quite shy but extremely curious about new things and technologies. My scientific curiosity keeps me going and pushes me out of my shell, it is also my demon in a way. It gets me to work, but it makes it hard to stop and then I am always thinking of ways to make the research better.

You are speaking at the Sunday Business Post’s National Electric Vehicle Summit What to you think of the speaker line-up and conference focus?

I think the line-up is exceptional as it includes top speakers from both public and private sectors. The focus is also extremely relevant to current SDG challenges and future policies to face them. It is also in line with cutting edge research promoted by the European Commission.

What opportunities and challenges do you see the market at this time?

I think the first challenge is to develop an holistic approach to deliver electric mobility for the private and public sector which is able to deal with both short and long trips. So far, there are a lot of interesting solutions which are scattered and only partially solve the problem. I think the opportunity for the market is to develop multimodal EV solutions to provide a door to door electric transport service.

Where would you like to see the Electric Vehicles market in Ireland in 5 years time?

I would like to see the transport in a city fully electrified for both transport of people and goods, so from the bicycles and scooters to cars, from buses to trains, from vans to trucks for deliveries.

Francesco Pilla is speaking at the National Electric Vehicle Summit on October 24th in Croke Park. To purchase tickets for this event, visit

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