The Future of Mobility Needs CollaborationBy Alfonso Núñez | Wed, 03/23/2022 - 11:30
As sustainability becomes a key focus across different industries and governments, global mobility is one of the largest areas of opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and maximize equal access to services. Some of the primary strategies for doing so is the expansion of EVs and the replacement of personal vehicles with public transportation or rideshare apps. But for the timely deployment of these and other innovations, collaboration between public and private sectors is key.
Although maximizing EV access and mobility is a key global focus for reducing transportation carbon emissions, EVs in Mexico face a different environment. The lack of charging stations and high market prices have led consumers to consider them luxury vehicles, so EVs continue to play a minor role in total automotive purchasing compared to other countries. As such, the future of sustainable vehicle ownership will instead consist of the larger distribution of hybrid models, said Fernando Enciso, Group Director, Surman.
“Hybrid vehicles are pushing governments to invest without risking losses due to lack of chargers… Hybrid vehicles are pushing the transition,” Enciso said. Dealerships are also contributing to this effort by focusing on rolling out models with cleaner technologies, which meet the increasingly popular interest of owning an environmentally-friendly model, he added. To meet that demand, manufacturers and dealers must continue building and distributing eco-friendly vehicles but local governmental authorities must also help promote these technologies following the example of countries in North America, Asia and the EU.
Some cities in Finland, for example, have successfully merged most mobility options into a single service, said Sampo Hietanen, Co-Founder and CEO, MaaS Global and Whim. Hietanen acknowledged the large differences between Finland and Mexico that limit mirroring some of the former’s fiscal incentives for the increased purchasing of EVs or hybrid models. Instead, Mexican efforts should be led by collaborations between different industry players, as the automotive industry has been known for operating through closed environments in which individual goals are prioritized before innovation and equal access.
Additionally, “The biggest innovations happen when smart regulation exists,” Sampo explains. The collaboration between the private and public sector is necessary so the future of mobility arrives efficiently and common industry goals are met. But to achieve these successful collaborations, the private industry must do its part in prioritizing goals beyond generating profit, said Rodrigo Díaz, Deputy Minister of Planning, Policies and Regulation, SEMOVI.
An example of a successful collaboration can be seen through the one between Mexico City’s government and Vemo, through which electric buses were introduced to the city’s Metrobus system. This is one of the best examples of efficient and eco-friendly public transportation in the city, said Díaz. “We have had good experiences with the private sector in mass transit… The good news is that in Mexico, two-thirds of motorized trips are made by public transit. The goal is to improve the fleet and services,” he said.
However, Díaz highlighted the importance of including non-urban regions in the country, particularly in the South, in the mobility transformation. With the arrival of digital innovations, accessibility will be the ultimate consideration in determining the efficiency of the country’s mobility transformation.
Vemo achieved several milestones in electrifying transportation services by working not only with local governments but also with private mobility service providers, said Co-Founder and CEO Roberto Rocha. A collaboration between Vemo and Uber led to the introduction of Vemo’s EV services in the highly popular Uber platform. This type of collaboration is key for additional future successes. “At the stage at which the ecosystem is today, collaboration is key,” said Rocha.
Regarding public and private sector collaboration, Gretta Gonzalez, General Manager, Uber, argued for the inclusion of private companies in regulatory processes because technology tends to arrive before regulation, which is why it is important for all players to be able to contribute to these processes. “It is in the best interests of everyone to sit and discuss the right way to bring mobility to cities,” Gonzalez said. Uber is committed to limiting CO2 emissions globally by 2040, a large effort that will require collaboration to transform mobility.
Already, younger generations prefer using ride share apps over purchasing and owning a vehicle of their own. But for these trends to continue expanding, further collaboration between all industry players is needed.