Nazareth Torres Chavez
CEO
Zacua

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Expert Contributor

Ecological Awareness: Main Challenges for E-Mobility in Mexico

By Nazareth Black | Tue, 06/28/2022 - 13:00

“It is very expensive.”

“There is not enough infrastructure, the technology is not proven, and there are very few options.”

“Their designs are ugly.”

“I want more autonomy”

“Given the cost of an electric car, I can buy a very large vehicle with a lot of equipment.”

These are just some of the Mexican justifications for why an electric car is not chosen over an internal combustion vehicle.

The sale of electric cars in Mexico in 2021 totaled just 1,140 out of 1,014,680 cars sold, much less than 1 percent.

I have been a front-row observer 15 hours a day for more than 18 years of the mental process of choosing cars among car consumers in Mexico. My work in the automotive industry began by bringing together all the car brands in one place to make it easier for these people to make decisions when choosing a new car. The objective of this business model was to place the person at the center as the maximum axis of importance, so I have spent tens of thousands of hours talking with these people and with people who represented companies at the time in choosing the perfect car.

Since I joined the e-mobility segment, one of my daily activities has been to continue spending many hours in these same discussions to identify the main motivations that now lead people and companies to think about an electric car and then to choose it over an internal combustion alternative. 

This is also how a large part of my day is spent observing how justification can kill motivation. What's going on?

The following “decision route” will help in understanding this phenomenon:

1. Interest. Curiosity causes interest. This curiosity leads people to seek information, mainly through digital media because, today, information on cars is consumed on the internet. When it comes to electric cars, there is a lot of misinformation and many myths around them. This is where the construction of justifications begins.

We are probably the company that receives the most requests for information on electric cars; we receive thousands of requests and speak to these thousands of people. They arrive with a lot of curiosity, interest and already with some erroneous biases.

2. Disinformation is attacked. Doubts are clarified, and then the justifications begin to emerge to say “No” to an electric car and continue with internal combustion cars.

3. Let me repeat some of the justifications:

“It is very expensive… there is not enough infrastructure … the technology is not proven …  there are very few options … their designs are ugly … I want more autonomy … with what an electric car costs, I can buy a very large vehicle with a lot of equipment … ”

4. Continuing with this decision route, I have analyzed the cause that determines most of the justifications that lead to NO.

The error is logic.

The logic with which we purchase cars; the logic of how we are supposed to move.

Mexican logic when purchasing cars dictates that the car is an extension of the personality, a reflection of the social status and the economic scope of the owner of the vehicle.

Through the logic that "more is more," a culture of vehicle consumption was created where the search is for the biggest, most powerful, and fastest car, the one with the most accessories; thus, the perfect car is considered the one that has so much flash that it leaves others speechless.

It is a culture of consumption of vehicles and mobility founded on ostentation and waste. It is a culture that has been built on the opposite side of ecological foundation; instead of thinking of community, it identifies and affirms individuality because in doing so, it demonstrates superiority.

This is how we know that this culture of car consumption and mobility lacks ecological awareness.

And when we feel that something is being taken from us, then resistance arises. A resistance that becomes visible and takes shape through these justifications.

It is true that an electric car represents a higher investment than a gasoline or diesel car.

So, when we choose a car, how do we change from thinking individually and thinking as a community? How do we go from a culture of ostentation to a culture of sustainability?

We must use our logic, reflect, and eliminate these paradigms that don't work anymore.

There are two points to consider:

1. Most people today live in big cities; we make our lives within these big cities. In addition, most of us live our days going from home to work and from work to home, which means that more than 95 percent of the time our car remains parked. Do we really need a giant car, with many seats and a lot of power? Do we really need as much infrastructure as we demand as a requirement to adopt an electric car?

2. Let's stop demanding that electric cars have way more and cost much less. For this, we must reflect on the following:

The traditional industry that manufactures internal combustion cars has been under construction for more than 100 years, constantly evolving and expanding. One hundred years have been enough to provide a great variety of vehicles and affordable prices today. However, this way of moving around is highly polluting and harmful to everyone. The transition to e-mobility will take a while to be able to offer us variety and affordable prices, but it is just a few years against 100. That is why we must try to choose from among the existing options and thus contribute to a better quality of life for all.

Today, with ecological awareness, the perfect car is the one that allows you to satisfy your need to move with the satisfaction of doing so without polluting. The perfect car is electric.

Plus, electric city cars will take on great importance. Statistics tell us that the average number of occupants per car in Mexico City, which has the largest vehicle fleet in the country, is less than two people. This means that we are almost always alone in our car. A small car means fewer resources used, and this certainly helps with the objectives of sustainability.