Accelerating Electric Mobility Solutions in Latin America
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Accelerating Electric Mobility Solutions in Latin America

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Cinthya Alaniz Salazar By Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Thu, 03/16/2023 - 16:37

Access to reliable transportation has been a longstanding challenge in Latin America, particularly in urban areas. As countries across the region work to address this issue, one solution that is gaining traction is the shift towards electric mobility. While each country in Latin America presents its unique challenges and opportunities, there are common obstacles that must be overcome to accelerate the adoption of EVs and other sustainable transportation solutions. These include connecting private sector needs with government policies, but immediate points of opportunity include installing public charging infrastructure, increasing the penetration of sustainable energy, fostering collaboration and sharing technology among stakeholders, agree industry experts at Mexico Automotive Summit 2023.

“As we work towards the goal of accelerating electric mobility solutions in Latin America, it is essential to recognize that this is not something that can be accomplished by any single party. The key barrier to achieving this reality is the lack of effective communication and dialogue among stakeholders. We need to prioritize public discourse and collaboration to ensure that all parties involved are able to work towards a common goal,” says Mariana Serrano, Operations Director, Uber LATAM. 

Access to sustainable and efficient mobility in Latin America has been a long-standing challenge for several countries in the region. Population growth and urbanization have made it harder to provide affordable and efficient mobility to citizens. Outdated transportation infrastructure, traffic, long commutes and air pollution are common issues faced by several cities in the region. The inequality in income distribution contributes to segregated cities, which creates disparities in mobility quality and travel times.

“Everything generates pollution. The important thing is to reduce emissions and also implement mitigation measures,” says Israel Hurtado, President, Mexican Hydrogen & Sustainable Mobility Association (H2Mex). To transition to cleaner means of transportation, Latin America and the Caribbean need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by the transport sector, which accounts for 32.4% of emissions within the energy sector, according to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). 

To address the issue, some governments in the region have implemented actions to encourage the use of sustainable transport modes and reduce dependence on private vehicles. However, lack of infrastructure is a significant challenge delaying the implementation of cleaner mobility in Mexico and the rest of Latin America. Cities often have inadequate public transportation systems, bike lanes and congested roads. As a result, people find it hard to use sustainable modes of transportation such as walking, cycling or public transit. In addition, there is a lack of investment in public transportation, which can lead to inadequate services and poor maintenance. To overcome these challenges, significant investment in infrastructure and public transportation systems is necessary, 

Private sector investment is critical to making government policies and regulations related to mobility a reality. However, public and private actors often have different agendas and tensions, which require strong leadership and collaboration among stakeholders, says Daniel Abraham Lopez, CCO, EVERGO. Thus, a shared vision for more efficient and cleaner mobility is necessary. A holistic approach to the problem is necessary, and partnerships between the public and private sector can help create a programs for charging stations. EVERGO, for example, has entered into agreements with several companies, including BMW, to develop public charging stations. Both companies have pledged US$200 million to develop 15,000 charging stations to meet private and commercial needs, as reported by MBN.

“The challenge is a holistic one, which involves internal infrastructure changes that consider the country's energy network. However, this is a significant commercial challenge for companies that have sustainability goals, given the country's heavy reliance on fossil fuel combustion for energy generation,” says Carla Ortiz Fuentes, Country Manager Mexico, RER Energy Group.

Reducing the use of combustion cars is necessary to curb carbon emissions, especially during extraction and manufacturing stages, explains Serrano. Maximizing the cars' life can help further reduce emissions. However, it is also key to have public dialogue and discourse among stakeholders to achieve more efficient and cleaner mobility. Creating multi-modal cities centered around people, rather than cars, is essential, and public transportation plays a critical role in achieving this. Once these steps are taken, leaders can focus on accelerating the transition to EVs and other related issues.

To accelerate the adoption of EVs and other sustainable transportation solutions in Latin America, industry experts agree that public discourse and collaboration among stakeholders are necessary. Connecting private sector needs with government policies is also critical. Building public charging infrastructure, increasing sustainable energy penetration and fostering collaboration and technology sharing among stakeholders can help overcome the common obstacles faced by Latin America and accelerate the adoption of electric mobility.


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