Collaboration to Drive Forward Sustainable MobilityBy Jan Hogewoning | Mon, 02/17/2020 - 15:46
This year’s two-day LATAM Mobility Summit 2020 held at the World Trade Center in Mexico City on February 12 and 13 was centered around the topic of sustainable mobility. With different panel discussions, the mission was to nurture the conversation between players who all want to overcome the challenges that stand in the way of a functionable and sustainable mobility ecosystem. Change is coming and, as echoed by the event’s opening speaker, Jaime Ruiz Huescar, Global Head of the Urban Mobility at Cities Forum, “the nature of mobility will change more in the next five years than it has in the previous 50 years.”
Exhibitors in the conference hall brought a colorful mix of cars, scooter and buses, each with something to bring to a sustainable future. Among the speakers was Christoph Klein, Director Sales and Network Development of Porsche Latin America, who presented the new all-electric Porsche Taycan. While its price tag keeps this vehicle out of reach for most onlookers, it does, however, serve as a reminder of the confidence that OEMs have in the electric car.
Every automaker has its own idea of how to introduce electric vehicles into its portfolio. Leading the charge is Tesla, which recently recaptured the confidence of investors and surprised the market with soaring stocks. Investors are now, more than ever, betting on an electric future, even though sales so far remain disappointing. However, Oliver Rosenthal, Regional Head of BMWi / E-Mobility Latin America, explained that BMW believes the customer should retain the opportunity to choose between an electric, hybrid or conventional vehicle. The company’s vision is to eventually provide three versions of every car model it offers.
The conference was also host to the Mexican electric-vehicle brand, Zacua. Except for the Taiwanese made motor, this vehicle is developed and built in Mexico at the company’s plant in Puebla. The car is small and agile, which makes it a good fit for the urban environment. Unfortunately, annual sales of less than 50 units demonstrate that even though Zacua’s price tag is not far from conventional cars in the same segment, the electric vehicle is not yet hitting it big in the Mexican market. This in part has to do with recognition and wider public awareness. In their panel discussion, speakers from BMW, Porsche, Ford and Nissan all agreed on the importance of education to inform people about the advantages of electric vehicles. This also applies to decision-makers, who could have a bigger impact on developing the right infrastructure for these cars. However, technology still needs a boost. “Current battery technology still prevents electric vehicles from becoming mass-produced units,” said Marcos Perez, Director of Product Development at Ford Mexico.