Re: Fast charging
Strange. I don't see any British car manufacturers owning controlling interests in their US counterparts. Don't write-off a nation that has FIAT, multiple operational ship-yards, industrial machinery manufacturers, multiple fashion and design houses, and more. (Remember, Apple don't have the biggest market share in most of their markets, but they do rake in an awful lot of the profits. Margins are important and the fashion industry has some very, very fat margins.)
Italy has 3kW supplies (in rural areas; it's 6kW in most urban apartments) for the very simple reason that the country has very few natural resources for generating electricity itself. Almost all of Italy's energy needs are imported. Electricity is imported mainly from France, Switzerland and Austria. This is also one of the reasons why the country's economy struggles to grow even during the good times: fuel costs have a far greater effect on the costs of living than almost anything else.
Mario Monti is realising this and having to explain to his EU puppeteers why he can't achieve the impossible goals they've set him. Unlike the Brits, the Italians do save money for a rainy day and there's not much consumer debt. Most of the debt is sovereign debt: Italy's government has to build and maintain infrastructure in a land with lots of mountains, three active volcanoes, plenty of earthquakes, and an ageing population. (Oh, yes, and there's a fair bit of corruption too, but it's not as if the UK is exactly short on corrupt bastards either. Italy's are just more photogenic.)
Incidentally, the UK is also a net importer of energy now. It used to export quite a bit, but the most easily accessible natural gas fields in the North Sea have been used up and the British are now reliant on imports.
Unlike the Italians, the Brits have been profligate with their energy for generations and it's going to be a big wrench when they face the brownouts and power cuts that their ageing power infrastructure is going to force on them. The country will lose over 25% of its generation capacity within a decade and there's no sign of any new stations being ready in time to replace them.
Part of the current crisis is that multiple problems are hitting at the same time, creating a runaway cascade effect. The banks failed to do their duty. Those failures have soaked up a lot of the cash governments had intended to use for other projects that would have helped grow their respective economies. With so little money now available to grease the economic machinery, we're getting multiple seizures as the machinery jams repeatedly.
There was insufficient redundancy and resilience designed into the system. The system is therefore tearing itself apart and what we're seeing are increasingly desperate measures to keep it from breaking down completely. People—particularly politicians—naturally resist change, so wholesale replacement of the system is never considered. Instead, it's endless patch and mend, resulting in increasing bloat and poor performance.
If you think Italy's economy is going to be "donkey powered" soon, perhaps you should consider the fact that Italians are much more self-sufficient than most Brits. They're already used to living a low-energy-consumption lifestyle. They were using low-power lighting long before the concept became fashionable elsewhere. Not because they wanted to, but because they had to. Theirs is an economy of "micro-businesses" (yes, that term really does exist); there are almost no chain stores here. It's all family businesses. Their High Streets still have traditional butchers, grocers, you name it.
They'll be picking themselves up far more quickly than the British will, because they won't have anywhere near as far to fall.